Dalit Christians reportedly indulged in violence over non-inclusion of priests from their community in the silver jubilee celebrations of a church in Tamil Nadu.
They blocked some 200 priests and nuns in a procession to the Oriyur Punitha Arulanandhar Church in Tiruvadanai near Rameswaram, said parish priest Fr. Susai Manickam.
The protesters questioned the motive for suspending the six Dalit priests.
They also said that they would not allow celebrations unless the priests were included in special prayers.
Police said the protesters indulged in violence, broke festoons and street lights.
Church officials decided to suspend the celebrations to hold talks with the dalits as tension prevailed in the ares and negotiations with them failed.
Meanwhile people in seven coastal hamlets in Rameswaram hoisted black flags in support of dalit Christians and demanded that they be allowed to participate in the rituals.
They also hoisted black flags at the Paraloka matha church in the island in protest, police said.