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Bush visit: Old City of Hyderabad observes bandh
Syed Amin Jafri in Hyderabad | March 03, 2006 14:41 IST
President Bush has left Hyderabad and is heading back to Delhi.
During his stay in Hyderabad, the Muslim-dominated Old City of Hyderabad observed a bandh on Friday to protest against US President George W Bush's visit to the city.
For a while, tension prevailed in and around Charminar area after the Friday prayers at Mecca Masjid. Youths came out of the mosque and raised slogans against Bush. Some of them pelted stones while others burnt an effigy of Bush.
The police, including central paramilitary force personnel, who are deployed in strength in the area, pushed away the youths. The police also set up barbed wires near Charminar to prevent the protestors from taking out a rally.
Several Muslim organisations and groups, including Majlis-e-Ittehaadul Muslimeen, Jamaat-e-Islami Hind, Amarat-e-Millat-e-Islamia, All India Tameer-e-Millat and Majlis Bachao Tahreek, had given the call to Muslims to observe Friday as a "black day" by closing down their businesses, establishments and educational institutions to mark their resentment against the US president.
The bandh call evoked a good response in the Old City areas, with a large number of shops, hotels, establishments, petrol bunks, schools and colleges downing their shutters for the day. Banks also remained closed in some areas as a precautionary measure.
The Hyderabad City Police made elaborate bandobust in the Old City to prevent any untoward incident in the wake of the bandh call. Since it happened to be a Friday when the Muslims gathered in large numbers at mosques for the afternoon prayers, the police posted several platoons of Andhra Pradesh Special Police, Rapid Action Force and Central Reserve Police Force near Mecca Masjid in Charminar area and other parts of the Old City.
The police kept tabs on trouble-makers in the backdrop of the violent incidents in the Old City during a protest demonstration after Friday prayers at Mecca Masjid on February 17 against the caricatures on Prophet Mohammed.
Hidden cameras were set up near the entrance to the mosque to screen people. Plainclothesmen were deployed to search bags and belongings of the people coming in for prayers. The police also refused permission to any organisation to take out a protest rally in the Old City.