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Charminar cordoned off, Hyderabad simmers with tension

Last updated on: November 16, 2012 16:52 IST

Charminar cordoned off, Hyderabad simmers

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Violence rocked the old city of Hyderabad on Friday again, after the police barricaded the entire area around Charminar to prevent people from gathering near the historical monument.

At least seven people were injured in stone-pelting, said the police. Two vehicles and five motor cycles were burnt by the miscreants.

Policemen and Rapid Action Force personnel fired tear gas shells at several places including Charminar, Panjeshaha and Kotla Aalijah areas.

Reportage: Mohammed Siddique in Hyderabad

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Photographs: SnapsIndia

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The trouble started soon after Friday prayers at Mecca Masjid, when worshippers who were leaving the mosque tried to move towards the Charminar. Policemen started chasing the crowd with lathis, which reacted by pelting stones at them.

Chaos ensued as RAF men fired teargas shells from across the barricades near Charminar. Roads wore a deserted look as all the shops and hotels in the area were closed.

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Photographs: SnapsIndia

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Tension has been simmering in the area since Thursday night, after the police started putting up barbed wires and barricades to cordon off the area around the historic monument, to thwart the plans of several Muslim organisations to offer prayers at a shrine inside Charminar.
 
Police officials did not allow them to do so, pointing out that the shrine was abutting the temple, which has become the subject of a raging dispute.

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Photographs: SnapsIndia
Tags: , Muslim , Hyderabad

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Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen president and Hyderabad member of Parliament Asaduddin Owaisi had earlier said that thousands of Muslims will go to the Chhilla or shrine in Charminar after Friday prayers to perform the  religious rite of Fateha.

He wondered how the police can stop people when it had allowed thousands of people from another community to hold prayers there during Diwali.

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Photographs: SnapsIndia

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Police Commissioner Anurag Sharma had convened a meeting of Muslim religious leaders on Thursday to seek their cooperation in maintaining peace.

While the religious leaders assured him of full cooperation, they sought police permission to hold prayers at the Charminar shrine. But the police declined to grant permission and barricades were put up overnight.

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Photographs: SnapsIndia

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The disputed temple and the shrine have coexisted for a long time and both communities have been offering prayers there.

The situation has turned murky ever since the temple committee allegedly made an attempt to expand its area. The committee has now laid a canopy over the temple.

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Photographs: SnapsIndia
Tags: , Hyderabad

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The dispute has taken on a political colour after the MIM withdrew the support of its seven legislators from the ruling Congress government, accusing it of being communal and indulging in anti-Muslim policies.

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Photographs: SnapsIndia

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