A video showing a man threatening to attack Tamil Nadu Handlooms Minister OS Manian with a sickle at Nagapattinam has gone viral on the social media. The AIADMK politician had come to survey the destruction wreaked by the cyclone Gaja in his hometown when he was challenged by an angry mob.
The video from last month shows the man -- identified as Raja -- advancing towards Manian's SUV with a sickle, forcing it to reverse. Later, the Minister abandoned his damaged vehicle and left on a two-wheeler with his personal security guard.
Police said the incident occurred while Mr Manian was visiting the Vizhundamavadi area on November 18, two days after the cyclone struck. "We have arrested six people in this connection. The man with the sickle is absconding, but we will find him," a senior police officer said, adding that a case has been registered against 40 people.
According to local reports, residents of the area were angry about not receiving any relief material even two days after the cyclone destroyed their homes and felled a large number of trees. They alleged that Mr Manian arrived late and only sought to downplay the tragedy.
According to government estimates, the cyclone Gaja -- with windspeeds of up to 110 km -- uprooted 11 lakh trees, damaged over three lakh houses, destroyed hundreds of boats and uprooted nearly a lakh electric poles. Around three lakh people were also rendered homeless across Nagapattinam, Tiruvarur, Thanjavur and Pudukottai, and several complained of psychological trauma.
While the Tamil Nadu government sought a relief package worth 15,000 crore, the centre only gave an interim relief of Rs 350 crore. Besides providing relief and compensation for crops and property, the state government plans to build one lakh concrete houses for affected people.