Hyderabad

Old city on edge amid continuing protests

Additional police forces, including personnel of Rapid Action Force (RAF), Greyhounds and Reserve Police were deployed in the communally-sensitive pockets.

Hyderabad: The Old City of Hyderabad remained on the edge amid tension and continuing protests against BJP MLA Raja Singh over his derogatory comments on Prophet Muhammad.

A thick security blanket was thrown around the Old City in view of the protests at several places demanding immediate re-arrest of Raja Singh, who was released on Tuesday night after a city court granted him bail.

Additional police forces, including personnel of Rapid Action Force (RAF), Greyhounds and Reserve Police were deployed in the communally-sensitive pockets.

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RAF along with local police conducted a flag march on the Charminar-Shahali Banda road. The police have also stepped up security in view of the Ganesh festival beginning on August 31.

The police intensified the patrolling and ordered early closure of shops and business establishments as a precautionary measure to prevent protests. A panic situation prevailed in the busy markets around the historic Charminar as the police asked the traders to down their shutters.

The authorities had planned to shut the markets from 8 p.m., but the police vehicles were seen moving around from 7 p.m. asking shopkeepers to head home.

People returning from offices and workplaces were seen rushing back due to curtailment of business hours.

The city witnessed two nights of massive protests on Monday and Tuesday. The protest turned violent at a couple of places early Wednesday when police resorted to baton charge to disperse some stone pelters.

Hundreds of people came out on the streets in several areas, including outside the police commissioner’s office on Monday night, after Raja Singh posted a video on Facebook with derogatory comments about the Prophet.

Charminar, Madina Circle, Chandrayangutta, Barkas and other areas again witnessed protests on Tuesday night after Raja Singh was released on bail.

With new cases being booked at various police stations, the possibilities of fresh protests and Raja Singh’s arrest have triggered a tense situation.

Earlier on Wednesday, over 50 protesters were arrested from different places for taking out rallies. The police have made it clear that there is no permission for rallies.

Additional Commissioner of Police, A.R. Srinivas, was supervising the law and order situation in the Old City.

Meanwhile, the police have announced traffic curbs in view of the law and order situation and continuing protests in the Old City.

The police said the traffic intending to go towards the Old City, Malakpet and LB Nagar side will not be allowed from Puranapool, M.J. bridge, Nayapul bridge, Shivaji bridge, Chaderghat bridge, Chaderghat Causeway and Moosaram Bagh bridge across Musi river.

Vehicles carrying Ganesh idols from Mangalhat/Goshamahal areas to the Old City and other districts of Telangana have also been advised to follow the designated routes.

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