Hyderabad violence escalates, 11 hurt

National

In an escalation of the violence in Old City of Hyderabad, at least 11 people were injured as police confronted mobs indulging in stone-pelting and arson following afternoon prayers at the Mecca Masjid.

The mob set several vehicles on fire and damaged others. Skirmishes have been taking place in and around Charminar and other parts of the Old City area for the past few days over alleged expansion of Bhagyalakshmi temple abutting the Charminar monument.

On Monday, the AIMIM had snapped ties with the Congress government at the state and Centre, citing the communal tension, and accusing it of "encouraging pro-Hindutva forces".

On Friday, hundreds of people emerging from the mosque started pelting stones, attacked security personnel and went on a rampage when they were prevented from going towards the Charminar to offer 'salam'.

AIMIM (All India Majlis-E-Ittehadul Muslimeen) chief Asaduddin Owaisi had warned police on Wednesday not to stop people from offering the 'salam' after Friday prayers.

The violence occurred despite Police Commissioner Anurag Sharma holding peace committee meetings on Thursday evening and community leaders assuring that they would not incite violence. Additional forces and paramilitary personnel had been posted in the area.

A curfew-like situation has been prevailing in the Old City since November 11 when MIM legislators and police had clashed over placement of a plastic canopy at the Bhagyalakshmi temple.

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