Muslim groups seek end to 'economic blockade' of old Hyderabad
The United Muslim Action Committee of Andhra Pradesh Wednesday sought the intervention of the state human rights commission (SHRC) to end what it called the "economic blockade" of the old city of Hyderabad.
The action committee, comprising various Muslim groups including Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (MIM), alleged that the Congress government created a curfew-like situation around the historic Charminar to hurt the Muslim community economically.
The committee said the police restrictions were causing severe hardships to people in the old city and causing huge losses to traders and footpath vendors around the 400-year-old monument.
Led by Majlis-e-Tameer-e-Millat president and action committee convenor Abdul Rahim Qureshi, a delegation of Muslim leaders also called on Police Commissioner Anurag Sharma to immediately lift the restrictions.
The markets around Charminar remained closed for the fourth consecutive day Wednesday due to the tense situation following alleged expansion of a temple abutting the monument.
The area to the south of Musi river is generally referred to as old city, where Muslims are an overwhelming majority. The area has witnessed many communal riots in the past.
MIM chief Asaduddin Owaisi told reporters that the police were not allowing shops to open in the area and this had hit hard the traders, especially fruit sellers, vendors and daily wage earners.
Owaisi, whose party withdrew support to the Congress government Monday, reiterated that Chief Minister N. Kiran Kumar Reddy has colluded with the Sangh Parivar. "The chief minister gave another proof of this when he allowed the family of deputy chief minister (Damodar Rajanarasimha) to offer prayers at the temple last (Tuesday) night," said Owaisi.
Demanding that the government end "the police siege" of the old city, the Hyderabad MP said he feared that the government wanted to stop all economic activities around Charminar and create a buffer zone.
The action committee, which supported MIM's decision to snap ties with the Congress, announced that they would launch a campaign after Nov 25 to expose the chief minister's communal behaviour and the government's misdeeds. The leaders would address public meetings in various parts of the state.
Qureshi alleged that the government violated the high court orders to maintain status quo at the Bhagyalakshmi temple abutting Charminar. "When the court directed the status quo to be maintained, how can the government erect a canopy over the structure," he said.
He added that an idol was illegally installed and the temple came up adjacent to the monument in violation of the rules which ban any construction within 100 meters of protected monuments.
He alleged that the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) and various government departments allowed the illegal structure to come up near Charminar.