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Mecca Masjid blast anniversary: Old City turns into a fortress

Courtesy: Express Photo

HYDERABAD: On the eve of the 10th anniversary of the Mecca Masjid bomb blast near historic Charminar, the Old city of Hyderabad turns into a fortress.

Considering the sensitive nature of the occasion, tight security arrangements were made and extra policemen and RAF have been deployed on the streets, especially in communally-sensitive areas to prevent untoward incident.

Namazis, as usual thronged Mecca Masjid for Fajr (5:30 a.m), Zuhr, (1 pm) and Asr (5 pm) to offered prayers that went on peacefully.

Indian Express quoted K Babu Rao, Additional Deputy Commissioner of Police, South Zone, as saying, “Prayers and regular activity in the old city went on peacefully. In view of prayers, to be continued till late night, security at Charminar and Mecca Masjid localities till late night. A team of police officials also monitored the situation with CCTVs, sitting in the control room,’’ Babu Rao said.

Business was as usual. General public and tourists were also allowed in the vicinity of Charminar and the Mecca Masjid.

The anniversary passed off peacefully amidst tight security.

On May 18, 2007, members belonging to the Hindu militant outfit Abhinav Bharat had allegedly placed two bombs in Mecca Masjid, considered one of the holiest Muslim sites in the city.

They allegedly placed the bombs during Friday prayers, when thousands of people had gathered.
Nine persons were killed in the blast.

As news of the blast spread, tension escalated in Old City, especially the areas around Charminar, with many people taking to the streets. They turned into vandalising mobs and clashed with the police.

Police resorted to lathi-charge, lobbing of teargas shells, and firing in the air. Five more people were killed in subsequent police firing near the mosque.

With IANS inputs