The last 24 hours have been tense in Tamil Nadu. Following a threat on BJP National Secretary H Raja's verified Facebook account about the demolition of Periyar statues in Tamil Nadu, the state has witnessed vandalism and even arson.
The latest incident to be reported by the Tamil media however is reminiscent of acts carried out when the anti-caste movement was at its peak in the state.
Multiple channels reported on Wednesday morning that 10-15 Brahmin men at Triplicane in Chennai were allegedly attacked by men on bikes and that their ritual threads were torn off their backs. The attackers then allegedly went on to chant slogans in praise of Periyar.
The Mylapore Deputy Commissioner of Police Saravanan denied the reports and termed it as 'fake news' that had been circulating on WhatsApp groups for years now.
But sources in the police have confirmed that investigation into the alleged incident is underway and that they are looking for 8 suspects.
TNM visited the spot where the assault allegedly happened and spoke to the investigating officials.
This is what we have learned so far.
"Police received the information through a citizens group. It is said to have happened at around 7.25 am. This is when members of the community return from the temples nearby. The attackers allegedly came by bike and snatched the threads of the men in addition to cutting their hair," said an investigating official standing near the spot. "They then reportedly fled on the bikes. So far, we believe that only one person was attacked. But no complaint has been filed. "
The incident allegedly happened at a junction near Nallathambi street and the police have accessed CCTV footage from Sringachari street.
"Basically we have pictures of 4 bikes. Each has 2 men on it. They are definitely not from this area. We are yet to identify them," says the official. "We have conducted enquiries with all members of the community in this area. They are saying they were not attacked," he adds.
For the police, the lack of a complaint is proving to be very problematic.
Even employees in shops that were open at the time of the alleged incident claim they didn't see it.
"I heard someone screaming after 7 am and bikes racing away. But I didn't go and look because I didn't want to get into some kind of trouble," says an employee of a tea shop in the junction.
At the Ice House police station, officers say, "The best hope is that we identify the men on the bikes and question them. But without a complainant, the case won't be too strong. Even in 2015, a similar incident happened but nobody came forward to complain."