Theni, Tamil Nadu: 50 persons were injured on Sunday when police made a lathicharge to disperse protesters who gheraoed Tamil Nadu Finance Minister O Panneerselvam and allegedly threw slippers at him at the state border near Kumili after he tried to persuade them to give up their agitation on the Mullaperiyar dam issue.

Police said the Minister escaped unhurt and was later taken away from the spot via another route.

They said the violence broke out after a man told about 10,000 protesters on the Tamil Nadu side that he had been attacked by some persons while walking down a road in Kumili on the Kerala border.

This led to the crowd pelting stones at some people in Kerala, which was replied in kind.

Panneerselvam, who had gone to the spot to pacify them, tried in vain to stop the agitators. They gheraoed the Minister and allegedly threw slippers at him, the police said.

They said cases had been registered against more than 10 persons for indulging in violence.

The row over the dam has escalated in recent weeks, with Kerala insisting on a new dam to replace the 116-year-old structure, citing safety concerns, leading to attacks on Tamils and Keralites in some parts of both states.

Opposing Kerala's position, Tamil Nadu has said the dam is as good as a new one and moved the Supreme Court on the issue. The dam is located in Kerala, but controlled by Tamil Nadu on a 999 year lease.

(Agencies)