Hyderabad: Four people were killed in police firing in Hyderabad on Friday hours after an explosion hit the Mecca mosque near the historic Charminar monument. The four were killed when police resorted to firing to control a frenzied mob that had gone on a rampage in protest against the blast.
Violence broke out in the old city area within hours of the blast. The four persons were killed and several others injured when the police opened fire and resorted to lathicharge to disperse a frenzied mob, which pelted stones at the police personnel and ransacked shops.
The agitators torched a wine shop and attacked state-owned road transport corporation buses, forcing the closure of Falaknuma depot. The police fired on the mob when the protesters tried to burn a petrol pump in a congested locality.
Personnel from the paramilitary forces, Rapid Action Force and city police were deployed in the area. A red alert has been sounded in the state and pickets were posted in sensitive areas.
The firing incident, however, incensed the Muslim population of the city. "People are very angry. To call it a hurt would be an understatement. Why is it that mosques are being targeted in all in Congress-ruled states. The police wanted to cover up this, hence they resorted to firing," Asaduddin Owaisi, a Lok Sabha MP from Hyderabad, alleged.
"This is the reason why we have called for a bandh to protest against the attack on the composite culture of Hyderabad," he said.
Meanwhile, the Centre has rushed additional security forces to the state to prevent the situation from spiralling out of control. Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Y S Rajashekhara Reddy, who rushed to Hyderabad along with Union Home Minister Shivraj Patil from the national capital, condemned the blast, saying it was an "intentional sabotage" of peace and tranquility efforts.
He, however, declined to comment if the act was a terrorist action or internal sabotage, saying he was no yet in possession of all
He also announced an ex-gratia payment of Rs 500,000 for the families of the deceased and Rs 20,000 for the injured. A high alert has also been sounded across neighbouring Karnataka and Maharashtra following the blast.