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Tense moments in Hyderabad after Friday prayers
Syed Amin Jafri in Hyderabad | May 25, 2007 14:48 IST
Tension prevailed for some time in and around Charminar area in the old city of Hyderabad after Friday prayers at the historic Mecca Masjid, which had witnessed a bomb blast during similar prayers last week.
Some persons sustained minor injuries in stone-pelting and police lathicharge. About 50 youths were taken into custody by the police.
Though the Hyderabad city police had elaborate security arrangements in the entire old city, particularly at the mosque and in its vicinity, to check any outbreak of violence, the police officials faced anxious moments for some time after the prayers ended when some people leaving the mosque tried to gather near Charminar and take out a procession towards Pathergatti.
Some tried to take out processions towards Lad Bazar, Shah Ali Banda and Kotla Alijah. Shops had closed down in the area for the prayers.
The protestors, holding black flags, raised slogans denouncing the bomb blast and police firings last week.
Some of them pelted stones on mediapersons stationed in front of Mecca Masjid and adjoining places.
They also attacked media vehicles near Pathergatti. A section of the mob pelted stones at nearby shops in Gulzar Hauz.
The police resorted to a mild lathicharge at Charminar, Gulzar Hauz and Pathergatti to disperse the troublemakers.
Elsewhere in the old city, tension prevailed at Yakutpura, Dabirpura, Rein Bazar and Mughalpura area when people raised slogans against the police and pelted stones. Police reinforcements were rushed to these places to restore order.
The city police deployed nearly 10,000 policemen all over the twin cities, including 5,000 in the old city alone.
The deployment included 70 platoons drawn from the Rapid Action Force, Central Reserve Police Force, Central Industrial Security Force, Andhra Pradesh Special Police and City Armed Reserve, apart from the regular law and order police comprising 5,000 personnel.
Fire tenders, Vajra vehicles (which fire teargas shells), vehicles mounted with water cannons, and ambulances were kept in readiness near Charminar.
The APSRTC bus services were suspended in the old city area since morning, even as police organised frisking of passers-by and checking of vehicles at different places. The police had also stopped traffic on roads leading to Charminar in the afternoon.
The police had installed closed circuit cameras in and around Mecca Masjid and at other vantage positions and sensitive spots in the old city.
Apart from Mecca Masjid, elaborate security deployment was made at all the other major mosques in the twin cities.
City Police Commissioner Balwinder Singh camped at Charminar and supervised the bandobust arrangements.
All the senior police officers of the city were positioned at Charminar to deal with any eventuality.
Those entering Mecca Masjid had to pass through door frame metal detectors and they were also subjected to random checking by handheld metal detectors.
The worshippers were not allowed to take their cellphones inside the mosque, but were told to keep them in safe custody outside.
A large number of people turned up to offer prayers this time, compared to last Friday.
The namaaz was held peacefully and the people came out in an orderly manner.
The police intensified patrolling in the lanes and bylanes in the old city soon after the Friday prayers ended in different mosques.
Task Force police personnel also moved around in mufti to control the situation.
MIM leader and Hyderabad MP Asaduddin Owaisi also went round, asking people to disperse peacefully without causing any disturbance.