HYDERABAD: Three Muslims were killed on Wednesday in police firing following communal clashes sparked by alleged burning of a religious flag by some persons in Kishanbagh area of the old city.
Police clamped indefinite curfew under Rajendranagar police station limits after the clashes, which left 17 people, including ten police personnel, injured in heavy stone pelting.
Trouble broke out after members of Sikh community noticed that a religious flag was burnt at a flag post in an open ground near a hillock, police said.
As the news spread, people assembled in large numbers and some youth entered the nearby locality of Muslims and allegedly started attacking their houses and vehicles. Some parts of the area also reported arson even as police intervened and dispersed them, they said.
After some time, hundreds of members belonging to both communities gathered and pelted one another with stones and some police personnel, who tried to stop them, sustained injuries, a senior police official said.
Police opened fire and in the process at least three Muslims suffered bullet wounds and succumbed to injuries while undergoing treatment at a hospital.
Two of the dead have been identified as Mohammed Farid, 26, and Mohammad Shujauddin Qateeb.
“Around 1,000 members from both sides indulged in clashes. As lathicharge proved ineffective, police warned the clashing groups and opened fire. Curfew has been imposed indefinitely and section 144 CrPC clamped in Rajendranagar police station area under Cyberabad Commissionerate here following the incident,” the official said.
“The situation is tense but under control. The injured have been admitted to different hospitals,” he said.
City police commissioner Anurag Sharma told reporters, “There was an incident of rioting between two groups and right now the situation is totally under control. We are ensuring that it does not have any other and further repercussions,” he said.
“We are ensuring that there is peace and tranquillity in the city. Patrolling vehicles are on the move to maintain law and order. We will ensure that no (such) further incidents take place,” he said.
Earlier, Andhra Pradesh Additional Director General of Police (Law and Order) V S K Kaumudi, who inspected the area, told PTI that large number of security forces have been deployed, including three companies of rapid action force, two companies of Andhra Pradesh Special Police, in addition to city police personnel, in the troubled areas.
Victims of the mayhem alleged that the assailants armed with swords and knives entered their houses and attacked them. They also alleged police opened fire without using teargas or batons.
“The police did precious little to contain and put an end to the violence in a systematic manner. Instead it resorted to a knee jerk reaction—firing on the rioters,” said the All India Majlis-e -Ittehadul Muslimeen president Asaduddin Owaisi.
State Governor E S L Narasimhan reviewed the law and order situation at a meeting with senior police officials.
Some of the troublemakers were taken into custody and police pickets were set up and certain areas barricaded.
Police personnel were seen patrolling in the lanes and bylanes of the troubled areas.—Agencies