4 hurt in protests against Raja Singh; Hyderabad Old City simmers

A sub-inspector and three others were injured in sporadic incidents spiralling out of BJP MLA Raja Singh's controversial remarks

Raja Singh Hyderabad Old City simmers

HYDERABAD: A police sub-inspector and three others sustained injuries in sporadic incidents of violence spiralling out of BJP MLA Raja Singh's controversial remarks since late Tuesday night. The wave of protests against the Goshamahal legislator showed no signs of dying down even as the Nampally court ordering his release only appeared to have stoked the anger in a particular community further.

As reports suggest, isolated protests by youths belonging to a community continued all through Tuesday night and went on till early Wednesday morning in Old City.

The Hyderabad city police maintained highest alert with a heavy deployment of personnel drawn from the Rapid Action Force, Armed Reserve besides the Telangana police at sensitive pockets where protests and rallies were held. While a large number of agitators staged a protest in Shalibanda, there were also reports of rallies taken out in Moghalpura, Khilwat and Kala Pathar.

At least four persons, including a police sub-inspector, were injured when some youths pelted stones during one of the largest protests in Shalibanda. Protesters, chanting slogans demanding immediate action against Raja Singh gathered in large numbers near Rajesh Medical Hall in the area from midnight Tuesday and stayed put until 5 pm. Several senior police officials, while keeping a close eye on the protesters, tried their best to persuade them to retreat. But the agitators, mostly youngsters, were unrelenting.

The situation later turned worse when some youths pelted stones at the posse of police prompting a lathi-charge by the latter to bring the situation under control. One of the missiles hit a sub-inspector in his face resulting in a bleeding injury. By 5 am, the protest began dissipating with the agitators leaving the scene.

In another incident, the security personnel pre-empted what could have turned into a major clash between two rival groups on the way leading to Goshamahal. Trouble began when a group of protesters attempted to march towards Goshamahal, raising slogans against the BJP MLA. They were soon resisted by a rival group allegedly comprising followers of the legislator, giving anxious moments to the law enforcing personnel.

Realising the potential danger, the police and the security personnel quelled the mobs to diffuse the situation and restore a semblance of normalcy. In the process, several youths from both the sides were thrashed and scores were taken into preventive custody.

Earlier, the police officials also made valiant efforts to discourage protesters from moving forward when there was a buildup of agitators on the Muslim Jung Bridge (Musallam Jung Pul) in their attempt to march towards Goshamahal. Amid frayed tempers, a few agitators even damaged two vehicles but the police maintained utmost restraint and brought the situation under control.

With the sporadic incidents heightening tension and keeping the Old City on the boil, the authorities closed all the arteries leading to Charminar for vehicular traffic since Tuesday midnight. The police authorities however ruled out the prospect of imposing a curfew as they felt the situation was very much under control.

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