This Article is From Apr 01, 2010

Hyderabad: Curfew relaxed to let people buy essentials

Hyderabad: Curfew has been relaxed in areas around the Charminar in old Hyderabad from 8 am on Thursday for two hours to allow people to buy essential commodities.

This is the first time that curfew has been relaxed since it was imposed for an indefinite period on Monday evening following the communal clashes on Sunday and Monday. (See pics: Have you ever seen these Hyderabad roads this empty?)

Two people have died, 150 people have been injured in a game of one-upmanship between Hindu and Muslim political groups in Hyderabad. A premeditated plan is how Police Commissioner A K Khan described it to NDTV. Senior police officers are now trying to uncover the conspiracy that aimed at shattering the peace in Hyderabad's Old City. (Read: Hyderabad cops say conspiracy behind riots)

The riots began on Saturday after a dispute over religious flags. Investigating officers say tension had been building in the area between Hindus and Muslims in the last few weeks. Started mainly by religious groups on both sides, it was fuelled by local politicians.

The immediate provocation was Milad-un-Nabi- the month-long celebration was observed on an unprecedented scale, the flags that marked it were not taken down after the festival ended. Many saw this as a show of strength by the Muslim parties. Hindu groups responded by organising a huge rally on Hanuman Jayanti on Tuesday. Extremely provocative SMSes were sent by both sides, asking people to react. The Intelligence Department is trying to track down where they originated.

What the police is baffled about is how on Monday afternoon 1:30, violence broke out simultaneously at different locations, clearly indicating that an entire network was at work. The next day, there was stone pelting in areas in new Hyderabad. And yet, the police had no intelligence to suggest any of this was about to happen.

"The specific intelligence would not be available if it has been planned very carefully. You will have some information that something will go wrong but where and how it will go wrong, inspite of the best planning, will be difficult to assess,'' says the police commissioner.

What others in the force admit is that the Telangana issue has consumed the police's time, attention and resources since December. Those in favour of a new state and those opposed to it have been using the streets of the city to make their point; the protests at Osmania University and elsewhere have been violent. The police may therefore, sources say, have ignored or missed signs that a different part of the city was simmering.

AK Khan said curfew would be relaxed for two hours in old city on Thursday morning if no new incidents of violence were reported. So far, 180 suspects have been picked up for interrogation.

Class 10 examinations have been postponed at 410 centres across Hyderabad after curfew was clamped in parts of the city. The Osmania University has also postponed its degree examinations.