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After peace in Hyderabad, starts the blame game

Tuesday, March 30, 2010 06:10:16 PM, IANS

One person was killed in the riots in the old city

(Photo: The Hindu)

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Hyderabad: The situation in riot-hit old city of Hyderabad Tuesday remained peaceful barring minor incidents of violence even as an indefinite curfew continued, police said. Over a hundred people have so far been arrested in connection with various incidents since the tension started.

Sporadic incidents of stone-pelting were reported from curfew-bound areas of Gulzar Houz and Shahali Banda near historic Charminar but the police controlled the situation by resorting to baton-charge and arresting the miscreants.

No major incident was reported since Monday night from any of the 17 police stations in south zone, where indefinite curfew was imposed at 7 p.m. following communal violence for the third consecutive day.

Meanwhile, tension prevailed in Musheerabad area outside the curfew-bound old city after a clash between two groups. At least 10 people were injured when a group allegedly pelted stones on a religious procession.

Police did not allow any group to take out procession on the occasion of Hanuman Jayanti in the old city but such processions were organised in some other parts of Hyderabad.

The violence, which broke out Saturday in Moosabowli area of Hussaini Alam over a dispute on putting up of religious flags, has so far left one person dead and over 80 injured while several places of worship were attacked and vehicles torched.

With rampaging mobs taking to the streets in several areas Monday afternoon, police imposed curfew to bring the situation under control.

Policemen from other parts of the state, neighbouring states and personnel of central forces like Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), Rapid Action Force (RAF) and Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) have been deployed in the trouble-torn areas.

The violence of last three days and the curfew have put the residents to severe inconvenience.

Supply of milk was arranged in curfew-bound areas Tuesday morning. Women were allowed to come out and buy milk from the suppliers.

Police are keeping a tight vigil in sensitive areas around the historic Charminar by strictly enforcing the curfew.

Police Commissioner A.K. Khan told reporters that the situation was peaceful but there was no possibility of relaxing the curfew Tuesday. He said any decision on relaxing the curfew would be taken after a review of the situation Wednesday.

Police have been asked to deal firmly with anyone creating trouble. "We will use all the powers and force at our disposal," he said while hinting that police could also fire at troublemakers.

He said police had formed special teams to identify the culprits behind the riots. "We have so far arrested 110 people in this connection with various incidents and questioning them to identify the culprits," Khan said.

A youth died in stabbing while dozens of people were injured Monday afternoon when mobs attacked each other with stones and sticks. When repeated baton-charge, use of teargas shells and firing in the air by the police failed to bring the situation under control, an indefinite curfew was imposed.

Authorities postponed the Class 10 examinations in all curfew-bound areas. The education department announced that the examinations would be held for students in the old city at a later date.

Other parts of Hyderabad, twin city of Secunderabad and Cyberabad, the information technology district, remained incident-free though police imposed prohibitory orders banning assembly of five or more people as a precautionary measure.

'Blame game within Congress'
Meanwhile, in a major embarrassment for the Congress government in Andhra Pradesh, a section of its leaders from Telangana have openly charged their own party colleagues from two other regions of being involved in the communal riots in Hyderabad.

Congress MP from Nizamabad Madhu Yashki Goud has said that the riots were a conspiracy by leaders from Andhra and Rayalaseema regions as those opposing the demand for statehood to Telangana had been warning Muslims that communal tensions would rise in the separate state.

"It is a conspiracy similar to the one against Chenna Reddy's government to remove him from power," said Yashki referring to the 1990 communal riots of Hyderabad. Rivals of former chief minister Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy, both within the Congress and in the opposition, had alleged that he was behind the riots to dislodge Reddy from power.

Senior Congress legislator Shankar Rao has also alleged that those opposing Chief Minister Rosaiah were behind the riots to defame him and his government.

Their allegations evoked sharp reaction from Congress legislators belonging to Andhra and Rayalaseema regions, who demanded disciplinary action against them.

Congress sources said party's state unit president D. Srinivas spoke to Yashki, Rao and another MP V. Hanumantha Rao warning them against making any allegations over riots.

In the state assembly Tuesday, Rosaiah had to face embarrassing moments when opposition leader N. Chandrababu Naidu referred to the statements made by these Congress leaders and demanded a thorough probe and stern action against those involved.

"We are not saying anything but your own party leaders have made certain statements. A thorough probe should be ordered to find out if your own party people are involved or there are other unidentified elements behind the riots," the Telugu Desam Party (TDP) president said amid protests by treasury benches.

Earlier, Rosaiah, in his statement, appealed to people to maintain peace and urged all political parties to rise above political differences to cooperate in restoring normalcy in the state.

Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (MIM) legislator Ahmed Pasha Khadri Tuesday said his party has already given to the government the names of individuals and the party involved in the violence and demanded action against the guilty.



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