Fears of ‘possible violence’ during immersion allayed

Moving Ganesh idols for immersion early from Old City on Saturday holds key to peace even as tension was diffused considerably with the Government consenting to permit conduct of the Telangana March christened as ‘Sagara Haram’ by Telangana protagonists the next day.

The steadfast refusal of the Government to permit the March on Tank Bund was based on the premise that the final procession beginning on Saturday would culminate only on Sunday. Programmes like the Telangana March would pose threat to security of lakhs of people congregating there to watch the immersion.

“Such Telangana March programmes organised earlier led to violence,” the Hyderabad Police Commissioner, Anurag Sharma, remarked at a press conference three days ago. In this backdrop, allowing the March albeit by changing venue from Tank Bund to adjacent Necklace road naturally cooled the charged atmosphere in the State capital and allayed fears of possible outbreak of violence.

Still, unless the idols from Old City and its surrounding localities pass by Charminar by noon or at least by evening, peaceful conduct of the procession could turn out to be a tough task. “This is important because even minor incidents are assuming communal tinge, creating a charged atmosphere in the city,” a police officer observed.

Moreover, delay in clearing the idols from Old City would hold up idols coming from East, West, Central and Northern parts of the city. This would only extend the procession all through Saturday night, and till Sunday noon when thousands of pro-Telangana activists begin to assemble at Necklace road to participate in Sagaraharam.

The atmosphere in the city is so charged up that incidents that are accidental in nature are also leading to communal tension. In Nallakunta a vehicle trailer carrying a idol for immersion hit the compound wall of a graveyard near Adikmet on Thursday night. Within minutes members of a community gathered there in large numbers demanding that the vehicle should not move till the damaged wall was reconstructed. As word spread, others too started assembling there.

With much difficulty, the local police got the wall repaired on a war footing and diffused the tension. A few days ago, a miscreant hurled a paper at a woman during a marriage procession in Chaderghat and he was beaten up by another person. Soon stones were hurled on the marriage party leading to minor violence.

Two days ago, a scooterist hit a boy in Mangalhat injuring the latter. In a few minutes, rumours spread thick and fast that two communities clashed and police had to open fire in air to disperse mobs. Police had tough time in controlling such rumours that had potential create law and order disturbances.