Parts of Hyderabad Monday remained shut in response to a call given by Muslim organisations to mark the 18th anniversary of the demolition of Babri Masjid in Ayodhya.
Shops, business establishments and educational institutions remained closed in Muslim-majority areas while few vehicles were seen plying on the roads.
Markets around the historic Charminar wore a deserted look. The usual hustle bustle in the popular Laad Bazar, Gulzar Houz, Patthergatti and Madina was missing.
The impact of the shutdown was also visible in areas like Malakpet, Nampally, Mehidpatnam and Toli Chowki. However, normal life remained unaffected in other parts of Hyderabad, its twin city Secunderabad and the IT hub Cyberabad.
Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (MIM), Majlis Bachao Tehreek (MBT), Tameer-e-Millat and various other Muslim political and religious groups have called for the shutdown, demanding reconstruction of the demolished mosque at its original site.
They appealed to Muslims and other peace-loving and secular citizens to observe a peaceful shutdown. Religious leaders advised Muslims to offer special prayers for restoration of the mosque.
Police have made elaborate security arrangements and banned the assembly of five or more people till Tuesday. It also denied permission to some organisations to hold meetings, rallies and processions.
Policemen, including personnel from the paramilitary Rapid Action Force (RAF), were deployed in communally sensitive areas, especially in the old city. Security was beefed up around places of worship.
Police also erected barricades and were checking vehicles and frisking people at several places. It has also banned hoisting of religious flags and distribution of sweets to prevent any untoward incident.
Police Commissioner A.K. Khan said additional police forces were called from districts for deployment.
A tight vigil is being maintained in view of the communal violence early this year and the recent verdict of the Lucknow bench of Allahabad High Court in the Babri Masjid-Ram Janambhoomi dispute.
A mob of radical Hindus demolished the 16th century Babri mosque Dec 6, 1992, alleging that it was built after razing a temple built on the birthplace of Hindu deity Ram.
On Sep 30 this year, a three-judge special bench of the Allahabad High Court ruled that the spot in Ayodhya where a makeshift temple was built hastily after razing the mosque was the spot where Ram was born.
It had ordered division of the disputed 90 ft by 120 ft piece of land where the Babri Masjid once stood into three parts - one to Ram Lalla deity, one to the Nirmohi Akhara and one to the Sunni Wakf Board.
Dissatisfied with the judgment, both Hindu and Muslim groups have filed appeals in the Supreme Court.