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Published in the 16-30 Jun 2004 print edition of MG; send me the print edition

Communal clash in Hyderabad

Moosa Rambagh Malakpet locality of Hyderabad witnessed communal clashes on 1 June resulting in seven persons getting injured and several properties being destroyed. Rumours started spreading and the police got into ‘action’ before the situation could get ‘worse’. Hyderabad Police Commissioner RP Singh and Additional Commissioner of Police AK Khan and other officials quickly reached the spot.

According to Police Commissioner RP Singh, a scooter-rider hit a passerby at 9 pm on the day of the incident. They belonged to different communities. After clashes various rumours started spreading which is a common means to ignite communal violence. There was a rumour that a marriage party has been attacked. Youngsters from both the communities started pelting stones, which injured seven persons. Singh further said that due to this clash, five to six houses suffered losses. He denied any attack on any place of worship and assured that security has been tightened in the area and no one will be allowed to destroy the atmosphere of peace. Police personnel and vehicles in large numbers were seen in the area. 

Local people said that Ranjit Singh, a local goonda in the area, started violence from the very beginning. With his leadership, some persons placed a Ganesh idol near a mosque adjacent to Madina Masjid which led to tension. They said that Ranjit Singh has been continuously threatening members of the Muslim community since the victory of the Congress Party in the recent Assembly elections. These persons attacked a man called Irtaza at 9 pm alongwith his friends Ashfaq, Ashraf and Zakir on the fateful day. Afterwards the stone-pelting started between members of the two communities. Police moved in quickly and forcefully. The seven injured were rushed to Osmania General Hospital where one was admitted. 

Soon after the spread of this news, All India Majlis Ittehadul Muslimeen MLA Syed Ahmed Shah Quadri reached the spot and demanded the arrests of the criminals. He said that if the police had taken an action against Ranjit this incident would have been averted. He visited the injured in the hospital.

Meanwhile, the state home minister, K. Jana Reddy making a statement in the state assembly on 3 June, said that five persons have been arrested and a search has been launched to nab another three persons. Quadri alleged that the police is taking one-sided action. He said that the police has arrested five persons from the minority community and the twenty-member group responsible for the attack on Muslim houses, mosque and causing injury to Muslim youths have not been touched. Replying to this, state home minister said that of those arrested three were Muslims and two non-Muslims. Quadri said that the police’s communal mind has not changed and the Congress government is to blame. He said that harassment of Muslims had increased under the previous Telgu Desam government. He demanded that this kind of incident should not be allowed to take place again.

Ibrahim Usmani, Hyderabad

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