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Temple renovation sparks tension near Charminar

November 02, 2012 17:12 IST

Communal tension over the disputed temple next to historic Charminar continued for second day in Hyderabad as stray incidents of violence took place soon after the Friday prayers.

Tension had started building up before the prayers in the nearby Mecca Masjid as a large number of activists had gathered near the temple.

Although elaborate security arrangements were made and the police and Rapid Action Force had cordoned off the temple and Charminar to prevent any trouble, a group of people coming out of Mecca Masjid tried to rush towards Charminar shouting slogans against the police and the government for its failure in protecting the monument.

The local MLAs of Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen Ahmad Pasha Quadri and Moazzam Khan stopped the protestors and persuaded them to disperse peacefully. However, some miscreants pelted stones.

Stone pelting was also reported from Moghalpura area in the same neighborhood. One motorcycle was set ablaze there.

The protestors were incensed that the historic monument was damaged when the temple committee tried to expand its structure by putting up a tin shed. In their attempt to put a hole in Charminar for the tin shed, they damaged the intricate work of the monument, they alleged.

The protestors also alleged that instead of stopping the illegal activities, the police had provided protection to the culprits by erecting barricades and parking their vehicles around the temple as a shield.

They were also unhappy that the Archaeological Survey of India did not discharge its duty of protecting the more than four hundred years old monument.

Meanwhile, Quadri made a representation to the ASI in Hyderabad that they should allow Muslim community to offer prayers in the mosque atop the Charminar. "That mosque is there from the time Charminar was built and Muslims should be allowed to use it", he said.

"If you can allow a temple, which was a recent addition, why can't you open a mosque which is there for centuries", he asked. Quadri held the police responsible for the worsening communal tension in the area.

On the other hand, state Bharatiya Janata Party leader G Kishan Reddy also visited the temple at Charminar and offered prayers there. He alleged that the police was acting under the pressure of the MIM and was not allowing the needed repairs to the temple. He warned of serious consequences if the police came in the way of the works.

Police officials have said that after the protests on Thursday, they have stopped the construction works at the place. 

Mohammed Siddique in Hyderabad