Tension in Hyderabad over roadside temple demolition

December 12th, 2008 - 7:56 pm ICT by IANS  

Bharatiya Janata PartyHyderabad, Dec 12 (IANS) The demolition of a roadside temple by local authorities led to tension in parts of the city, with Hindu groups protesting violently and the paramilitary being called to restore peace.By evening the temple was already being rebuilt after the state government expressed regret for the action and suspended two municipal officials who had ordered the demolition to enable a key road to be widenened.

About a dozen people were injured as activists of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP), Bajrang Dal and other groups took to the streets in the busy Koti area, damaging buses of state-owned Road Transport Corporation (RTC). They also stabbed a youth in the area and set afire two four-wheelers belonging to the RTC.

The protestors broke window panes of the RTC buses as passengers including women and children ran in panic. Violence spread to Sultanbazar, Ramkote, Kachiguda and other surrounding areas. Police swung into action and caned the violent mob.

The incident led to massive traffic jams in Koti, Chaderghat, Abids and surrounding busy commercial areas. Shopkeepers downed shutters fearing more violence. Paramilitary Rapid Action Force (RAF) was also deployed to maintain peace.

The personnel of Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) in the early hours of Friday demolished a small roadside Pochamma temple near women’s college in Koti for road widening.

BJP, VHP and Bajrang Dal leaders led by BJP state president Bandaru Dattatreya staged a sit-in, demanding action against officers involved in demolition. “This is a deliberate attempt by the government to hurt the religious sentiments of Hindus,” alleged Dattatreya.

Some of the leaders began reconstruction of the temple when police intervened and arrested them.

Taking a serious note of the incident, the state government suspended two officials responsible for the demolition and promised to rebuild the temple. GHMC commissioner Praveen Prakash assured BJP leaders that the corporation would rebuild the temple and the municipal officials began the reconstruction work this evening.

State minister from Hyderabad Mukesh Goud announced suspension of town planning Deputy Commissioner Madhusudhan and Additional Commissioner Deshpandey for demolishing the temple without taking the concerned people into confidence. He said the government has also ordered a thorough probe into the incident.

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