In an early morning action, several structures, including a temple and two mosques, on either side of the road between Zakir Hussain Circle and Supermarket Circle in Raichur, were partially demolished widening the road on Sunday. The City Municipal Council staff, swung into action with two earthmovers at about 4 a.m. and went on to partially clear the structures till noon.
Since notices had been served on the owners of the buildings and authorities of places of worship well in advance appealing to them to cooperate with the drive for the larger interest of the public, almost all the occupants had shifted their belongings to safe places.
The authorities chose to work early in the day to avoid a clash with the public during demolition. Heavy police force was deployed to ensure peaceful demolition.
Despite the precaution measures, the authorities had to face the wrath of people during demolition. When the earthmovers partially demolished the commercial complex built adjacent to Ek Minar masjid, members of the public picked arguments with the demolishing staff in objection. The exchange of words soon turned into a clash between the municipal staff and the protesters. When the mob began to hurl stones at the earthmover operator, the police had to resort to a mild lathi-charge to disperse the mob. Some people were taken into custody and latter released.
At about 11 a.m., residents blocked the road at the same place in protest against the partial demolition the masjid. The former MLA Syed Yasin, who visited the spot, demanded that the government exclude places of worship from the demolition drive.
Deputy Commissioner S. Sasikanth Senthil and other officials visited spot and persuaded the protesting people to withdraw their protest. Except the incident, the road-widening demolition was carried out without any problem.
“We have partially cleared structures on either side of the stretch to make it a 50-ft wide road. Most of the cleared structures were commercial shops. No residential structure was there to be demolished. One mutt and two masjids were also partially demolished. A day earlier, we had a meeting with Ek Minar masjid authorities who agreed to the partial demolition of the masjid. Today, another group came and objected to it,” Mr. Senthil told The Hindu.