ANDHRA PRADESH

Judicial probe ordered into old city incidents

HYDERABAD Dec. 7. The State Government has ordered a judicial probe into the violent incidents that left five killed and scores injured in the old city on Saturday.

The Chief Minister, N. Chandrababu Naidu, said at a press conference after visiting the riot-affected areas that the probe would cover all aspects like identifying the people who triggered violence and whether it was a planned one, as being alleged by many. He, however, indicated that it was a planned attack saying "people don't react that fast in normal cases."

The police is collecting evidence recorded by the video cameras and those involved in the incidents would be dealt with firmly. Those found guilty would be booked under the A.P. Prevention of Organised Crime Act. He described the violence as unfortunate and claimed that the police action was timely and sufficient to control the spiralling violence. Earlier, he reviewed the situation with senior police officials for over an hour.

Mr. Naidu pointed out that tension was created in the morning itself when one Madhu and a group tried to hoist a flag at a temple in Gowlipura and also distribute sweets. Similarly, another group wanted to hoist a black flag on a mosque despite the intervention of the police. The police, however, pacified the crowds and defused the tension.

He said that 19 people received bullet injuries apart from injuries to six police personnel, while five people died. One of the victims was an innocent person, Balaiah, a resident of Nizamabad district, who was caught in the violence. Though he ruled out any compensation to the victims as the Government doesn't believe in awarding ex gratia to people losing lives in communal incidents, genuine cases would be looked into on humanitarian grounds.

Announcing a series of measures to tackle such incidents, the Chief Minister said that of late a new trend of cutting off power supply is being noticed in these cases. All the sensitive areas would now be provided with high mask lights and asked the Municipal Corporation of Hyderabad (MCH) to immediately take measures in this regard. He said an integrated call centre would be set up to improve coordination between the police and other agencies like Transco and MCH for immediate action. He also asked the MCH to clear the debris and see that stones were removed from these places. All those affected in rioting would be taken care of and the district Collector would work out a plan.

He called upon the people to maintain communal peace and asked the people to ostracise those whipping up communal passions for personal gain. He said communal peace and respect for other religions would be introduced as a part of the iculum in schools to prevent the younger minds getting degenerated. Replying to a question, he said video cameras would be installed at sensitive places initially and later in all areas of the city to monitor trouble-shooters. Thirtyfour vehicles would be strengthened with GPS and modern facilities.

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