A shutdown, protests and meetings marked the 22nd anniversary of the demolition of the Babri Masjid, which passed off peacefully yesterday in Hyderabad and other parts of Telangana and neighbouring Andhra Pradesh.
A shutdown was observed in parts of Hyderabad on a call given by some Muslim groups to demand reconstruction of the demolished mosque at its original site in Ayodhya.
Shops, business establishments and educational institutions were closed and vehicles were off the roads in the old city and other Muslim-majority areas as police stepped up security to prevent violence.
The usually busy historic Charminar was relatively quiet while the roads in the centuries-old markets wore a deserted look. Shops closed in response to the shutdown call given by the Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (MIM), Majlis Bachao Tehreek (MBT) and other groups.
Police arrested some people, who tried to take out a rally defying the ban in Moghalpura near Charminar. The men were raising slogans in support of their demand for reconstruction of the mosque.
Over 5,000 police and personnel from paramilitary forces were deployed in different parts of the city.
Special security measures were taken near the historic Makkah Masjid. A tight vigil was maintained across the old city as attempts to take out rallies by some organisations and also celebration of Vijay Diwas by some others had led to violence in the past.
A police officer said the afternoon prayers at Makkah Masjid passed off peacefully. He said situation was peaceful.
Police have banned rallies, meetings, processions and sit-ins in the limits of both Hyderabad and Cyerabad police commissionerates to maintain peace and harmony.
Hyderabad Police Commissioner M Mahender Reddy said the orders were issued in view of reliable information that certain groups are trying to create disturbances affecting public peace and order and inciting communal animosity between different communities.
Like in the past, Wahdat-e-Islami, Darsgah Jihad-o-Shadat and some other organisations were allowed to stage a sit-in at Indira Park located outside the communally sensitive old city. The protesters were carrying placards with slogans “Justice delayed is justice denied’ and “Rebuild Babri Masjid”.
Black flags were hoisted at many places in the old city as Muslim groups have called for observing a black day.
Some groups held meetings at mosques and function halls to mark the day and to seek reconstruction of the mosque.
A delegation of MBT leaders led by its president Khayam Khan met Governor E S L Narasimhan at Raj Bhavan and submitted a memorandum. Later talking to reporters, Khan said justice can be done to Muslims only with the reconstruction of the mosque.
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