Staff Reporter

HYDERABAD: Has the much-criticised police firing did them in? Have they been made scapegoats? Or have they overreacted to the situation?

Even as questions fly thick and fast, Inspector P. Sudhakar of Falaknuma police station, who has been shifted on the charge of opening fire `indiscriminately' to control the rampaging mobs on Friday last in the aftermath of the Mecca Masjid blast, says he has acted as the situation warranted and averted a near disaster. Recounting last week's incident, Mr. Sudhakar says: "While I asked my subordinates to be on high alert, mobs from Shalibanda and the mosque came towards Moghalpura pelting stones. They set ablaze a wine shop and charged towards a petrol pump where we were stationed."

The mobs took out petrol from the dispenser and sprinkled it on the room. "When they tried to ignite it with the help of dry grass, I ordered my men to open fire with .303 rifles to disperse them," he says. "As the situation turned worse, I sought additional forces. Quick Reaction teams along with Moghalpura Inspector arrived and scattered the crowed by opening fire." At least 10 persons, including policemen, could have been killed if fire orders were not issued, he insists. E. Ramachandra Reddy of Moghalpura police stations has also been moved out along with Mr. Sudhakar.