HYDERABAD — (twocircles.net) Three people were killed and 19 injured at Kishanbagh in Hyderabad’s Old City early today when officers of the Border Security Force opened fire on clashing groups of Sikhs and Muslims.
Hyderabad City Police Commissioner Anurag Sharma visited the riot-hit Kishanbagh area where members of Sikh and Muslim communities had clashed in the morning resulting in police firing that killed three Muslims. The toll was expected to rise further.
The trouble started at Sikh Chowni in Kishanbhag area of Bahadurpura where a religious flag of Sikhism was torched Wednesday night by some unknown men.
In the wee hours of morning Sikh youths armed with swords started assembling at the spot even as police remained silent spectators.
The armed Sikhs attacked Muslim houses in the neighborhood and set ablaze shops and properties. Muslims from neighboring areas started to assemble after the news of attacks started to spread which led to stone-pelting between the two communities.
Many houses and vehicles of Muslims were burned down by rioters.
The Rapid Action Force and Border Security Force personnel, stationed for election security, were immediately called in. The paramilitary forces first fired tear gas shells and then opened indiscriminate fire over Muslim protesters, killing one on the spot and seriously injuring 20 others. Two youths later succumbed to injuries in different hospitals.
Speaking with reporters later, Police Commissioner Sharma said police are trying their best to ensure that the incident does not have any repercussions in other parts of the city. He told press reporters, “We have alerted all staff and patrolling is being intensified. Police have also imposed Section 144 to prevent gathering of mobs.” He said that the situation is in control and downplayed the riot as a “clash between two groups.”
Meanwhile as part of precautionary measures, Cyberabad Police imposed curfew in Rajendranagar police station limits.
Cyberabad Joint Commissioner of Police Y. Gangadhar defended police firing claiming the action was necessary to control the situation but he claimed that orders were given to fire in the air. He told reporters, “Around 6.30 am, a group assembled and attacked people. As both groups, armed with swords clashed, we ordered BSF to fire in the air. Those who were at some height from the ground level were hit. Three people have died in the firing. The injured are stable, firing in the air was necessary to bring the situation under control.”