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Probe into clash firing

Hyderabad, May 15: A magisterial inquiry has been ordered into yesterday’s police firing in Hyderabad, being blamed for the deaths of three persons, following clashes over the burning of a religious flag.

Governor E.S.L. Narasimhan ordered the probe today after the action by BSF troops, who had been rushed to control the skirmishes, drew fire from minority organisations and local parties.

Residents of Kishanbagh, the pocket near the Charminar where the trouble broke out early yesterday, alleged the shots were fired without warning. The probe order came as the indefinite curfew, clamped in three police station areas of the neighbourhood, continued today.

Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (MIM) chief and outgoing Hyderabad MP Asaduddin Owaisi wrote to governor Narasimhan demanding a probe by a sitting high court judge. “The city police failed to act when an armed mob attacked the houses of a particular community but asked the BSF to open fire when some people threw stones in self-defence,” Owaisi alleged.

Majid Hussain, Owaisi’s party colleague and a candidate in the Assembly elections held along with the Lok Sabha polls this time, questioned the law-enforcers’ crowd-control methods. “Why should the police use Insas assault rifles and not rubber bullets? Were they firing at terrorists?” Hussain, a former mayor, asked.

Some residents alleged they were fired upon when they protested attacks by rampaging mobs. “The police were mute spectators when mobs armed with swords attacked us and set afire our houses, shops and vehicles. But when we gathered to protest, the police opened fire on us,” said Basavaraju, a rickshaw puller.

The BSF claimed its jawans fired on the directions of the police. The police had sought help of the central force personnel, who were in town after being deployed during repolling on Tuesday, to contain the violence.