Temple row: Hyderabad tense

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HYDERABAD – A day after Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (MIM) withdrew support to the Congress government in Andhra Pradesh, the ruling party has decided to hold talks with its ally to persuade it to reconsider its decision, reports said on Tuesday. 

MIM chief Asaduddin Owaisi, however, ruled out the possibility of his party reconsidering its decision. “Once we take a decision, we don’t go back on it,” he said. 

Facing a possible crisis due to the MIM’s move, Chief Minister N Kiran Kumar Reddy held an emergency meeting of his cabinet last evening to discuss the political situation. 

As many as 24 ministers including state Congress chief Botsa Satyanarayana attended the meeting. The chief minister briefed them about the stand taken by the government on Bhagyalakshmi temple abutting Charminar. 

The MIM withdrew support while accusing the chief minister of allowing construction of a canopy over the temple structure in violation of court orders to maintain status quo. 

Satyanarayana told reporters after the meeting that it was decided to hold talks with the MIM. 

He said the MIM had only expressed its views and hoped that the issues would be sorted out. He said the government had acted as per the law and had done nothing to hurt sentiments of any community. 

Hectic political activity was also seen in the camps of other major parties. Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) chief K. Chandrasekhara Rao took stock of the situation with some members of party politburo and other top leaders in Hyderabad. 

Leaders of main opposition Telugu Desam Party (TDP) also discussed the latest political developments. 

Curfew-like situation prevails in old Hyderabad 

The situation in the old city of Hyderabad continued to be tense on Tuesday with sporadic incidents of stone pelting. A curfew-like situation prevailed around the historic Charminar. 

The construction of a canopy over a temple abutting the monument has sparked political trouble in the state. 

The 400-year-old monument and the usually busy markets around it were deserted with armed policemen barricade visible in the entire area. Residents in localities surrounding the heritage monument were facing severe inconvenience as police prevented them from coming out of their houses. 

Policemen and personnel from paramilitary forces remained deployed at Charminar and surrounding areas. The police arrested Hindu religious leader Swami Paripoornananda and some BJP leaders proceeding to Bhagyalakshmi temple abutting Charminar. 

Deputy Commissioner of Police Akun Sabharwal said the situation remained peaceful and appealed to people not to believe rumors.

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