Saturday, Jun 07, 2003
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By Our Staff Reporter
Scooters set afire by mobs in front of the State Bank of Hyderabad, Aghapura branch, in Hyderabad on Friday. Photo: P.V. Sivakumar
At several places in the Goshamahal and Habeebnagar areas mobs resorted to heavy stone-pelting and set ablaze at least 20 vehicles as the funeral procession of the person killed in Thursday's clashes in Mallepally took a violent turn. Trouble also broke out at Charminar as irate crowds rushed out of the Mecca Masjid immediately after the noon prayers, injured three policemen by hurling stones, set afire a wine shop and a couple of vehicles.
(Early on Thursday a trivial incident in a hotel led to the violence and arson. Trouble began after the owner of a hotel at the Noble theatre crossroads in the Mallepally locality refused to accept a soiled currency note from a youth. As the argument intensified, the hotel staff intervened and one of them allegedly stabbed the youth, said to be from the Afzalsagar locality, in his wrist. He was immediately shifted to hospital. The youth's relatives later lodged a complaint with the police.)
Following a visit by the Chief Minister on Friday, top police officials patrolled the strife-torn areas, rushed in additional forces and brought the situation quickly under control.
Mr. Naidu condemned the attacks on people and their properties engineered by "anti-social elements to terrorise people by meaningless violence". Significantly, he admitted that police could not assess the situation although adequate security arrangements were made.
After visiting the victim's house at the Noble theatre junction, Mr. Naidu said the judicial inquiry would help identify the culprits. He said Section 144 had been clamped in the Goshamaphal and Asifnagar divisions. The residents of Mallepally held a particular community responsible for the victim's death and urged Mr. Naidu to shift members of that community to a separate place. They also demanded that the Habeebnagar Inspector be suspended alleging that his "indifferent" attitude had resulted in the spread of violence. Mr. Naidu later went around the SBI branch of Agapura at Charkandil where 12 two-wheelers were torched and a couple of vehicles totally damaged.
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