Two policemen injured as suspected extremist opens fire (Lead)

December 3rd, 2008 - 11:02 pm ICT by IANS  

Bharatiya Janata PartyHyderabad, Dec 3 (IANS) Two policemen were injured and had to run for cover after they came under fire while trying to arrest a former activist of the banned Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI) here Wednesday.The incident took place in Santosh Nagar area in the city when the policemen of the counter-intelligence cell were trying to arrest Vikaruddin.

Police Commissioner B. Prasada Rao told reporters that one of the two people accompanying Vikaruddin opened fire from his weapon when the policemen tried to arrest him.

Head constables Guru Rama Raju and Jaffer sustained bullet injuries and were shifted to hospital.

“They escaped after throwing their weapon,” said the police commissioner about the SIMI activists.

A team of policemen spotted Vikaruddin near a telephone booth and tried to arrest him.

The police chief clarified that the incident was not related with last week’s terror attacks in Mumbai.

The police said Vikaruddin, a resident of Malakpet area in the city, is a former activist of the SIMI and the Daragah Jihad-e-Shahadat (DJS), a city-based rightwing organisation which trains Muslim youths in self-defence.

Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy told reporters that Vikaruddin was also a suspect in the Mecca Masjid blast case and the police were on the lookout for him for over a year.

Nine people were killed in the blast during Friday prayers at the historic mosque May 18 last year.

Home Minister K. Jana Reddy said the police were trying to nab him for a year and half and that the police had received reports that he returned to the city two days ago.

Soon after the incident, the police launched a massive manhunt. A high alert was sounded as police formed special teams to nab Vikaruddin and his associates. The police have also stepped up patrolling and checking of vehicles.

The incident led to tension in the area as shopkeepers downed shutters. Activists of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and other organisations protested against terrorism and raised slogans of ‘Bharat Mata ki Jai’ and ‘Down with Pakistan’. They also set on fire a Pakistani flag.

The incident rocked the state assembly with the opposition parties demanding a statement from the government. They alleged that the Congress government had failed to deal firmly with terrorism.

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