Trouble broke out in Gowlipura of old city on Wednesday night with members of two communities throwing stones on one another over alleged flag burning even as many localities remained calm most of the day.
A fire cracker burst by a resident of Gowlipura reportedly hit a religious flag on the top of a house leading to an altercation. Members of one group attacked the person who was believed to have burnt the cracker near Gowlipura vegetable market.
Soon members of both the communities gathered on either side of the road and began hurling stones. Three vehicles were damaged in the attacks while police rushed additional forces. Barbed wire fencings were put up immediately ensuring that mobs didn’t surge ahead.
Earlier in the day, normality returned to old city that had recently witnessed frequent communal tensions while shops opened near Charminar on Wednesday after remaining closed for three consecutive days.
The 144 Section imposed a few days ago in parts of old city following communal clashes over alleged expansion of Bhagyalakshmi temple at Charminar was relaxed from noon. This partially diffused the tense atmosphere in central parts of old city and in commercial localities which were completely shut for three days. Though the Charminar area was not bustling with activity, hawkers and pushcarts vendors were seen trying to sell articles. Roadside eateries too could make some business. Devotees made a beeline to Bhagyalakshmi temple and the queues remained long all through the day.
“Not many were allowed the previous day to visit the temple on the eve of Deepavali. That is why people in large numbers thronged the temple for the traditional harati,” a devotee said. The barbed wire fencings and steel barricades were shifted to sides from the middle of roads at different points facilitating obstruction free movement of commuters. The large contingents of policemen deployed at Charminar and other places were withdrawn but not completely. Rumours about communal tensions continued to spread in the morning. “Many called asking if mobs were resorting to stone throwing in the morning at Charminar. I told them I was standing there and nothing of that sort had happened anywhere,” a police officer said.
But entire old city was not peaceful. Crowds gathered at SRT colony in Reinbazar in the morning protesting alleged usage of papers of their holy book for making fire crackers. Showing burnt papers, which were reportedly used for making fire crackers, they staged demonstration seeking action against the persons responsible for hurting their religious sentiments. Police rushed there with additional forces and dispersed the crowds assuring to take action. A criminal case under Section 295 (act intended to outrage religious feelings) of Indian Penal Code following a complaint lodged by MIM corporator Bilal in this regard. Mild tension prevailed earlier in the morning after miscreants partially damaged three small roadside temples near Dobighat in Falaknuma. Three graves in nearby burial ground were also damaged.