Police fired teargas shells and made a lathi-charge to disperse a crowd which threw stones, injuring nine police personnel, during a meeting of the United Christan Council near here, police sources said on Wednesday.
Police said the members of the UCC wanted to take out a procession in connection with the Christmas celebrations in the Kulasekaram area last night.
BJP activists also wanted to take out a procession from Seruppalur Amman temple to Nagakodu in the same area to mark the birthday celebrations of former Prime Minister A.B.Vajpayee.Sensing trouble, police did not allow the processions, but UCC members insisted and blocked the road, police said.
MLAs Vijayarani and Pushpa leela Alphone held talks with police officials. SP Manivannan then held talks with the two groups,and allowed the UCC members to hold a public meeting.
Trouble started when some UCC members who addressed the meeting allegedly abused BJP leaders,forcing the police to grab the mike,leading to clash between police and UCC members, police said.
Some miscreants in the crowd started pelting stones at the police, forcing the police to burst tear gas shells and then resort to lathicharge to quell the violence, police said.
Police said they had filed cases under various IPC sections against 256 persons in connection with the violence and clash in which nine policemen were injured. Fifty persons were taken into custody and later released at mid-night last night.
The injured police personnel included Sub Inspectors Mohana Iyer, Regunathan and Jayanthi.
Police said the situation in the area was tense but under control and police personnel have been deployed in large numbers.