Three people have been killed in police firing after communities clashed in Kishanbagh area of Rajendranagar in Hyderabad on Wednesday morning.
According to police sources trouble broke after a flag outside a gurdwara in Sikh Chawani was found burnt. Some members of the Sikh community then reportedly barged into a house in Bahadurpura, the nearby Muslim-dominated area and attacked two youths there.
Later violence escalated with groups from both minority communities of India indulging in stone-pelting and arson at each other. As news spread, mobs started attacking nearby residential areas.
The Police Commissioner C V Anand informed that the central and paramilitary forces that were deputed on election duty were rushed to the area. Police opened fire when the violence continued near Kishanbaug, as the mobs set fire to vehicles and houses.
Those killed belonged to one community and have been identified as Wajid Ali, 38, Mohammed Shajuddin, 42, and Nazir, 28. A local member of the peace committee said Wajid Ali also had sword injuries on his body. The committee member also explained the flag may have caught fire due to sparks from a nearby copper-extraction shop where they incinerate electrical wires. “We are assuming that early in the morning, between 3-4 am, something happened in the shop due to which sparks flew and the flag caught fire. I think it was an accident. This is just our preliminary reading of what may have happened,” he said.
However during the tensed election season in the country, smses and social media spread the news. A photograph of burnt flag did the rounds and the incident gained communal colour. “The clashes started over the burnt religious flag of one community in Kishanbagh area early on Wednesday. Incensed over this, the men of this community entered the houses of the other community, burnt their houses and vehicles leading to the communal flare up,” said Cyberabad Police Joint Commissioner Y Gangadhar.
“To control the clashes, police had to open fire. Three men died in the firing. We have formed several teams and are carrying out searches to arrest the miscreants who indulged in the clashes and arson. Indefinite curfew has been imposed,” the Joint Commissioner of Police.
Tension continued in the area for several hours even as police stepped up security in the neighbouring Old City area.
Condemning the clashes, MIM president and Hyderabad MP Asaduddin Owaisi alleged that some miscreants attacked the residents of Arsh Mahal with swords and daggers and set several vehicles on fire. “The residents pelted stones in self-defence. In the meantime, the police reinforcements rushed to the spot. Instead of controlling the assailants who were brandishing swords and attacking the members of the other community, the police personnel opened fired on the area’s residents, killing three youths and injuring a dozen others,” he claimed. Demanding a Judicial inquiry into the matter , he added, “Instead of using the usual methods like lathicharge, teargas shells and rubber bullets, police opened fire on the crowd.”
The area still remains tensed but no further untoward incident has occurred.