Nearly 500 Bharatiya Janata Party workers, including former Union minister Bandaru Dattatreya and BJP national secretary Dr K Laxman, were taken into preventive custody for holding protests in front of the police commissionerate in Hyderabad on Tuesday.
BJP's Greater Hyderabad unit had organised a dharna opposite the police commissioner's office at Basheerbagh to protest cases registered against "innocent people," including the party's workers, in connection with recent incidents of communal violence in parts of the city, police said.
BJP leaders and workers gathered in front of the police commissoner's office and raised slogans condemning police action and their alleged "failure" in acting against those responsible for the communal violence.
The area surrounding the commissionerate was cordoned off by erecting barricades and a large police force was deployed to contain the protesters.
BJP workers were taken into preventive custody when they tried to meet Police Commissioner Anurag Sharma to submit a memorandum. The detainees were later taken to various police stations, said the police.
Greater Hyderabad city president Venkat Reddy and former Member of Legislative Assembly Baddan Balreddy were among other BJP leaders taken into custody, they said.
Meanwhile, while Dattatreya was being taken away by the police, he said, "It is unfortunate that incidents of communal violence are being reported once again in Hyderabad city due to inefficiency of the state government."
Dattatreya also alleged that the police was trying to appease a particular party at the behest of the state government and foisting cases against innocent youth by delaying action in arresting those responsible for the crimes.
Demanding a high-level probe into incidents of communal violence and theft in some temples, Dattatreya said police should probe the cases impartially.
Referring to incidents of violence reported on Monday night at Sabjimandai and Ziaguda under Kulsumpura police station limits, he further alleged that the police was preventing his party's workers from visiting the affected areas, whereas giving permission to leaders of another party to do the same.