Tension gripped Tamil Nadu’s Ramanathapuram after police gunned down a Dalit man, accused in several cases inside church premises on Thursday night.
Police claimed they acted in self-defense. But relatives of the deceased, identified as 46-year-old D Govindan, refuted the police claim.
Tension was palpable in the temple town on the birth anniversary of the Dalit icon BR Ambedkar on Friday.
Govindan, who was travelling in his car, jumped out of his vehicle on reaching Arumbur area of the town and ran into a nearby church after being chased by a police jeep.
According to police, the accused attacked them with a sickle when they accosted him inside the church. To protect themselves, one of the inspectors fired two rounds that hit Govindan in the chest.
He died on the spot.
Govindan, a charcoal businessman, is a leader of the Dalit community in the region.
“On Thursday, Govindan went to take delivery of an Ambassador car that he had purchased. In the evening, he spoke to his wife over phone to inform that he would come after buying some items to celebrate Tamil New year on Friday. That was the last time the family heard from him,” a relative told a private television channel.