Tamil Nadu state Congress president M Krishnaswamy was stabbed in the abdomen by an unidentified man at a village near Madurai when he went there to hoist the party flag on Monday evening. He is out of danger, police sources here said.
The incident occurred in Keelakannicheri, a Dalit village, in Ramnathapuram district, 550 km south of Chennai, at around 7.30 pm.
Krishnaswamy did not heed the warnings by the upper caste Thevars (traditionally supporters of the opposition AIADMK) against hoisting his party flag in the village. He was stabbed in spite of the heavy security.
Police rushed him to the Apollo Hospital in Madurai, some 50 km away.
Sources in Madurai said he is out of danger.
Reports said that the Congress leader, a former MP, entered the area in spite of tensions following a skirmish between the dominant Thevar community and the Dalits.
The birth anniversary of one of the founder leaders of the Forward Bloc Pasumpon Muthuramalinga Thevar, a close associate of freedom fighter Subhash Chandra Bose, is being observed Tuesday and there has been tension in the area.
Chief Minister M Karunanidhi, AIADMK boss J Jayalalitha and actor-turned politician Sarat Kumar are scheduled to pay their respects to Thevar Tuesday. Security has been strengthened as a precautionary measure.
Known for its communal clashes, Ramanathapuram has been quiet for the past few years.
Thevars and Dalits, the two main sections of the agrarian society in southern Tamil Nadu, have a long history of conflicts on the issues of agriculture and temple festivals.