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Hyderabad tense after clashes near Charminar over offering of prayers

Hyderabad: Tension prevailed in Old City area here after police lobbed teargas shells to disperse members of a community who pelted stones and burnt vehicles near the historic Charminar.

Scores of people marched towards Charminar after Friday prayers this afternoon which was heavily barricaded since different localities in Old City witnessed communal tension over the past week.

The trouble broke out after some of the members reportedly tried to hold prayers inside Charminar and argued with the police over denying permission and then pelted stones at them.

Representational image. PTI

Two cars and three bikes were burnt, and window panes of several other vehicles were damaged in stone pelting at various areas, police said.

Police initially used mild force to disperse protesters. As the situation got tense, policemen fired teargas shells on the stone-pelting mob. Some protesters were also taken into custody. There were reports of a few policemen sustaining injuries in the incident.

Prohibitory orders were imposed in the troubled areas. Shops and business establishments downed their shutters in the areas.

Security in the Old City area was stepped up with deployment of additional forces including RAF in view of Friday prayers today.

So far, police have lodged 18 cases in connection with the November 11 violence in parts of Old City and arrested 109 persons besides taking into preventive custody Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (MIM) legislators, who were later released.

Sporadic incidents of violence had rocked the Old City after the MIM leaders were taken into preventive arrests while they were marching towards Bhagyalakshmi temple to hold protests, following the decision of the Andhra Pradesh government to allow covering of a shed over the temple with a tarpaulin sheet, citing a High Court order.

When the situation was returning to normalcy, stone-pelting incidents were reported at different places in Gowlipura as two communities clashed on Wednesday night after a religious flag had caught fire due to bursting of firecrackers.

PTI