Instigated by two local leaders they planted severed legs of a cow and sprinkled colour inside the temple

It was a group of four Hindu youngsters, instigated by two local leaders, who planted severed legs of a cow and sprinkled colour inside a temple in Madanappet sparking communal clashes in the old city three weeks ago, the police said on Friday.

While the four youths have been arrested, the police launched a manhunt to nab the leaders - Niranjan, a wine merchant and Srinivas, a money lender, who are accused of masterminding the temple desecration. The arrested persons were identified as Nagaraj, who works as a contract sanitation supervisor in the GHMC, Kiran Kumar, a florist, Ramesh, a hotel worker and Dayanand Singh, a car driver. All the four hail from Kurmaguda of Madannapet where the temple was located.

The arrested persons did not have any criminal history earlier but were active in organising religious programmes in the area.

Their aim was to create communal disturbance and turn the situation to their advantage by provoking and uniting the Hindus, the police said.

The two absconding persons, the police said, did not belong to any religious organisation but were actively involved in organising religious events in the area. They also used to lead youngsters of the area in celebrating festivals like Ganesh Chaturthi and Dasara Navaratri by erecting pandals and convening programmes.

The two, the police said, believed that by projecting a threat from the rival community, they could force the Hindus to unite.

Anticipated

They had anticipated some trouble during Sree Rama Navami and Hanuman Jayanti festivals in first week of April. “As the two events passed off peacefully, they conspired to trigger communal clashes,” the police said.

Draw up plan

According to investigators, the four youngsters met in a wine shop and finalised their plan on April 7 at the behest of Niranjan and Srinivas. Being a sanitation worker, Nagaraj knew a place in Chanchalguda where burnt legs of animals were being dumped. While he collected two severed legs of a cow from there, another procured a bottle of paint.

After midnight on April 7, they went to the temple, planted the severed legs on the wall by inserting them through the iron grill, sprinkled the paint and fled.

Hindus of the locality gathered in big numbers the next morning when the news of temple desecration spread.

Stone pelting

When a sniffer dog, which was brought to the desecration site, headed for the main road, a mob followed them and started pelting stones and damaging properties belonging to another community.

Angered over the attacks, Muslims retaliated triggering clashes in Madannpet and Saidabad prompting the police to clamp curfew in the two police station areas.

Police began investigation into the clashes by picking up youngsters involved in property damage cases. Ramesh was one of those held for indulging in stone pelting and sent to prison. He came out on bail four days ago.

Stitching up the leads, the Commissioner's Task Force teams picked him up again. During interrogation, he admitted to his offence. Based on his confession, the other three accused were also caught.

More In: Hyderabad