Tension over communal violence continued Monday followed by overnight communal clashes between Hindu and Muslim groups in the old city; and attacks on places of worship have been reported in several areas.
Cases of stone-pelting and attacks on places of worship, houses, shops and vehicles were also reported.
Over 58 people, including 2 journalists, were seriously injured in stone-pelting and police cudgeling. Dozens of vehicles were set afire and many were damaged by the mobs.
Police used cudgels to disperse clashing groups armed with sticks and stones on them.
The violence had broken out on Saturday night in Moosabowli area of Hussaini Alam after a heated argument between 2 groups when members of a community were putting up saffron flags for ‘Hanuman Jayanti – birthday celebration of a Hindu diety’ while removing the green flags of another community put up recently for ‘Milad-un-nabi celebration – festival of Prophet’s birthday’. The argument between these groups resulted in a spread of violence into new areas of the city where majority of the saffron followers were armed with stones, sticks and even petrol bombs taking to the streets.
Girish Kumar – Director General of Police, also visited the troubled areas late Sunday, told media adequate measures have been taken and forces were being deployed to get the situation under control.
Section 144 has been imposed under prohibitory orders, the criminal procedure code banning congregation of 5 or more people in the old city and other communally sensitive areas of the new city as well.
In the areas like Gowliguda, Falaknuma, Shamsheergunj and Chatrinaka of old part of Hyderabad, which have majority of Hindu population and minority of Muslim population; miscreants attacked passersby with knives and other sharp-edged weapons after asking them to identify themselves to be Hindu or Muslim. Muslim Women and children were not spared either in Falaknuma area where Lambada tribe attacked them. Over a dozen worship places were targeted by unruly crowds, who also torched shops, government and private vehicles. Minority living in those areas were reported to vacating their houses.
Majority of Mosques were burnt or damaged; Masjid at Siddiamber Bazaar, Masjid Barq Jung at Petlaburg, Masjid Meelardiyo palli at Aulamgad, Masjid Chilla Nasir Jung Baig at Begum bazar, Masjid Muhammadia at Begum bazar, Masjid Alam khan at Begum Bazar, Masjid Diri Bagh at Begum Bazar, Masjid Rehmania at Miyakul banda, Masjid Noor at Chatrinaka, and a mosque at Rakshapuram were badly damaged.
Hindu extremists jumped into mosques at night through roof and set the prayer rugs to fire, and even demolished a minaret of a mosque at Rakshapuram. At Masjid-e-Rahmania in Miyakul banda, petrol bombs made of bulbs were thrown at Muslim devotees attending prayers.
In Falaknuma area, activists of Hindus organizations like RSS, VHP, Bajrangdal tore-off Burqa (Veil) of Muslim women and injured them; they were also seen openly waving saffron flags and attacking Muslim passersby near Shankershare Hotel in Afzalgunj area. In another incident at Madannapet area; a Muslim lady working for an IT company returning home in her office cab, was attacked from behind throwing a huge stone that broke the rear glass of the car, but she managed to escape.
Legislators of a Muslim political party, Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (MIM) and leaders of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) reached the areas. MIM legislator Ahmed Pasha Khadri complained that police remained a passive spectator to the attacks on the houses of the minority community and moreover resorted to unprovoked baton charge on youth of that community. However, BJP leader G. Ramaswamy said to media that why minority community objected the installation of saffron flags while they were allowed to put green flags during their festival. Moreover, during the recent festival of ‘Milad-un-Nabi – celebration of Prophet’s birthday’, youth of minority community were seen taking huge rallies and processions that were never seen in the recent years. This would have provoked competition in the other community to celebrate birthday of Hanuman (a Hindu deity) with pomp-show.
In the latest information collected, an angry mob belonging to Hindu organizations armed with sticks, knives and petrol bombs were to set a mosque on fire at Shalibanda, Hyderabad on Monday afternoon. But police opened fire in air to disperse the mob. Still, the situation is critical in areas like Madannapet, Lal Darwaza, Gowliguda, Uppuguda. Miscreants with their faces covered with saffron masks are mercilessly attacking Muslim passersby in those areas. More than 58 have been seriously injured so far and it’s still soaring; to curb the situation Police officials have imposed Curfew in the Old city from 7:00 pm (IST) on Monday.
Commissioner of Police A.K. Khan has termed the communal clashes “PRE-PLANNED”. 70 people have been arrested so far in connection with the violence.
Police said: Paramilitary Rapid Action Force (RAF) personnel and state police forces have been beefed up in Moosa Bowli, Hussaini Alam, Purana Pul, Begum Bazar and surrounding areas to prevent any incident.
Hopes some REPs...