The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Gujarat bullet fells AP protester

Hyderabad, Oct. 31: Besieged by a mob which tried to set free a cleric arrested in a high-profile murder case, a Gujarat police team opened fire and killed a youth in the Andhra Pradesh capital this evening.

The clash broke out when the crowd of women and youths tried to barge into a complex housing the office of the director-general of police.

They were demanding the release of Moulana Naseeruddin, the chief of the Tahreek Tahfur Shaur Islam, who was taken into custody by Gujarat police this evening after Ramazan prayers. The cleric in his sixties has been accused of a role in the murder of former Gujarat home minister Haren Pandya.

The 26-year-old youth who died in the police firing has been identified as Mujahid Islahi Azmi. Hyderabad police said he was a member of an organisation called Dasargah-e-Jehad-e-Shahadat.

In August, around 60 women had gatecrashed the city police commissioner's office and tried to secure the release of Naseeruddin, who was arrested on charges of ISI links and conspiracy to cause communal tension.

Naseeruddin, whose organisation claims to spread awareness about Islam, was recently released on bail in that case.

Gujarat police had wanted to take custody of the cleric in August but the Andhra Pradesh government advised them to wait till the Ganesh festival was over to avoid escalating tension.

Naseeruddin was handed over to a 15-member team from Gujarat, headed by an assistant commissioner of police, this evening. The mob tried to set the cleric free when he was about to be taken to the airport from the police complex.

Hyderabad police refused to confirm whether the cleric was eventually taken to Ahmedabad.

The clash spread tension in the old city which was in the middle of Ramazan shopping. Thousands of Id shoppers, including women and children, rushed home as shop owners cleared pavements of wares anticipating trouble.

City police said no prohibitory orders have been issued till late tonight but added that the situation is being monitored.

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