The situation in riot-hit parts of Hyderabad on Thursday remained peaceful while people in curfew-bound areas of the city got some relief with authorities relaxing the curfew for two hours.
No untoward incident was reported from any of the areas in the old city, where curfew was relaxed in two phases, police said.
Thousands of people, living under curfew for the last three days, came out to buy essential commodities. Long queues were seen outside grocery shops, milk booths and medical stores during the relaxation.
Though police had announced that women and men above 50 years will only be allowed to come out to buy essential goods, a large number of youth were also seen shopping in some areas like Bahadurpura as police could not strictly enforce the restrictions.
Traders exploited the situation by selling the essential commodities at exorbitant prices. In some areas milk was sold for Rs 100 a litre while vegetables cost Rs 50 per kg. Though the government had made some arrangements to supply milk and vegetables, they proved inadequate.
Police had a tough time in controlling the crowds at vegetable markets and milk booths. People complained that, taking advantage of the situation, the traders jacked up prices.
Home Minister P. Sabita Indra Reddy told reporters that four traders were arrested for selling essential commodities at very high rates. She said the authorities supplied 28 trucks of vegetables and 45,000 litres of milk in 17 police station areas.
Curfew was relaxed from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. in nine police station limits and from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. in eight police station limits.
Police Commissioner A.K. Khan said there would be no relaxation in eight police station areas of the new city where curfew was imposed Tuesday night after communal clashes.
The riots, which broke out last week over putting up of religious flags, have so far claimed two lives and left over 150 injured.
The home minister said a decision on relaxing curfew for Friday prayers would be taken in the evening after a review of the situation.
She said 10 more companies of paramilitary forces had reached the city and were being deployed. This is in addition to 21 companies already deployed in the riot-hit areas.