Uneasy calm in old Hyderabad after row over temple

An uneasy calm settled over the old city of Hyderabad Monday, a day after leaders of the Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (MIM) protested and were subsequently arrested over a temple controversy.

With tension still palpable in the usually busy areas around historic Charminar and in the interior areas, Road Transport Corporation (RTC) suspended all its bus services. RTC officials said 157 services were cancelled as a precautionary measure.

A curfew-like situation prevailed in the usually busy markets around Charminar. All schools and colleges declared a holiday.

Police said the situation remained peaceful. No untoward incident was reported overnight.

Police remained on high alert in view of the reported plans by some groups to take out a rally to Bhagyalakshmi Temple abutting Charminar. Armed policemen were seen patrolling the streets in communally sensitive localities.

Trouble broke out Sunday after MIM legislators were arrested when they staged a protest over erection of a canopy on the temple structure.

They alleged that the court orders to maintain status quo at the temple were violated. Eight legislators and several other party activists were arrested.

The arrests sparked violent protests in some parts of the old city. Police Commissioner Anurag Sharma Sunday night clarified that the temple committed was allowed to cover the temple structure with tarpaulin sheets after Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) said the structure had the covers as on Oct 30.

Taking a serious view of the incident, MIM decided to reconsider its support to the Congress government in the state and the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government at the centre.

MIM's executive is meeting Monday to take a final decision. The party has seven members in 295-member assembly and its support is crucial to the survival of the Congress government, which enjoys a narrow majority. The party has one member in the Lok Sabha.

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