The two-hour relaxation in curfew on Saturday provided a much-needed relief to the people in the riot-hit areas of Hyderabad while the situation remained peaceful in the city.
Thousands of men and women came out of their homes in eight police station areas as curfew was relaxed from 8 am to 10 am to enable people to buy essential commodities.
Huge crowds were seen in the markets to buy vegetables, milk and groceries. Long queues were also there at the medical stores. People once again complained of traders exploiting the situation by jacking up the prices of essentials as the arrangements made by the authorities to supply vegetables proved inadequate.
For the first time since curfew was imposed in these areas outside the worst-hit old city on Tuesday, police relaxed the restrictions, providing some relief to the people.
No untoward incident was reported during the two-hour relaxation. The curfew in 17 police station areas of old city was relaxed for three hours from 10 am to 1 pm.
The curfew in the communally sensitive old city was relaxed for two hours on Thursday but no relaxation was given on Friday as police anticipated trouble during prayers. With Friday prayers passing off peacefully, the police decided to give a three-hour relaxation.
Though no untoward incident was reported in any of the curfew-bound areas since Tuesday night, police were continuing the curfew as a precautionary measure.
Police Commissioner A.K. Khan on Saturday said there would be relaxation for longer duration on Sunday. “Lifting of curfew will take some more time,” he said.
There was mild tension near the historic Charminar area on Friday night when Hyderabad MP and Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (MIM) president Asaduddin Owaisi staged a protest at the Charminar police station against the arrests of “innocent” Muslim youth by police.
Mr. Owaisi later called off the protest after talks with senior police officers. Mr. Owaisi, who was accompanied by parents of some of the arrested youth, alleged that police was breaking into the houses during night, abusing women and lifting their children.
The communal violence, which broke out following a dispute over putting up of religious flags, has so far claimed two lives and left over 150 injured.
The police commissioner said probe into various incidents of violence was on and so far 300 people were taken into custody. Police were also on the lookout for two corporators of the Bharatiya Janata Party and the Telugu Desam Party for their alleged involvement in riots.