Communal clash in Medak over morphed photo

Communal clash in Medak over morphed photo

Curfew was imposed on Sangareddy town in Medak district on Thursday, following a communal clash in the area.

Police beats up a man during the communal riots in the Sangareddy district of Andhra Pradesh on Friday. PTI

Twenty people were injured and several shops and vehicles parked in Gunj Maidan were set afire in the large-scale violence that began on Thursday night in Sangareddy town. The police on Friday said the situation was peaceful but tense. A police officer said patrolling has been intensified in the sensitive areas.

The curfew will continue as a precautionary measure. The violence broke out on Thursday night when a youth allegedly distributed printouts of a morphed photograph of a religious place posted on a social networking site.

Even as some  people were staging a protest outside a police station demanding his arrest, a mob started attacking shops and vehicles at Old Bus Stand.

The mob set afire 40 shops, two four-wheelers and four auto rickshaws.  It also looted several other shops and small roadside kiosks. A police vehicle was also torched.

The looting and attacks continued till early hours. Locals alleged that the police remained mute spectators even though the Old Bus Stand is close to the District Police Headquarters.

There was also a confrontation  near Government Junior College, which led to stone-pelting. Stone-pelting, took place on Friday morning too, and shops and vehicles were damaged. Police fired teargas shells to disperse two groups pelting stones.

Police, which imposed the curfew on Thursday night to control the situation, did not enforce it on Friday when people came out of their houses. However, the authorities clarified that prohibitory orders under Section 144 of the Criminal Procedure Code, banning assembly of five or more people, were in force. Police had called additional forces from other parts of the district.

“It’s unfortunate. The alleged photo has been posted in Facebook by someone in some other city three or four months ago. I have been talking to both communities to cool down as Ramanavami is approaching,” said T Jayap­rakash Reddy, Sangareddy MLA.

Meanwhile, Andhra Prad­esh Deputy Chief Minister Damodar Rajnarsimha, Home Minister Sabita Indra Reddy, Minister for Industries J Geetha Reddy, and Nizamabad Range DIG visited the town on Friday and appealed for peace.