Bhopal: Situation peaceful after communal clashes over prayers in Hamidia hosp

Some minarets were discovered in a structure during digging on Hamidia hospital premises. Muslims claimed it was a masjid and wanted to offer namaz there. Hindus wanted to pray in a temple next to the minarets.
Four vehicles were set on fire in the violence near Peer Gate area in Old Bhopal on Tuesday night.(Mujeeb Faruqui/HT Photo)
Four vehicles were set on fire in the violence near Peer Gate area in Old Bhopal on Tuesday night.(Mujeeb Faruqui/HT Photo)
Updated on Jun 02, 2017 10:52 PM IST
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Hindustan Times, Bhopal | By

The situation in the Old City area of Bhopal was peaceful amid police presence on Wednesday morning, hours after Muslims and Hindus clashed over the right to pray inside the Hamidia Hospital complex where some minarets were recently discovered.

Some of the shops opened on Wednesday but the roads in the area have been partially barricaded. Internet services, which were blocked on Tuesday night to prevent rumour mongering through social media, were restored in the morning.

The eastern gate of the Hamidia Hospital compound from where people were going to the disputed structure was sealed with tin barricades. The main gate remains open but people were being checked as a result of which patients had a tough time entering the hospital.

Members of the Muslim community claimed the minarets found in a structure during digging inside the Hamidia Hospital were that of a mosque and wanted to offer prayers there.

The city administration, however, did not allow them to do so, saying there was no sufficient proof that it was a mosque and that experts would decide on it.

On Monday, members of the Hindu community wanted to pray in a temple inside the hospital campus next to the newly discovered minarets. They were not allowed to do so by the administration.

The trouble started in Peer gate area in on Tuesday evening and spread to Budhwara Char Batti, Moti Masjid, Fatehgarh, Hamidia, Agrasen crossing, Imambara which saw intermittent stone pelting for over 3 and a half hours. At least 4 vehicles were set on fire near Peer Gate.

A senior police official said they managed to bring the situation under control by midnight.

Madhya Pradesh chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan issued an appeal to people to remain calm and not to listen to rumour mongers. Several other politicians, religious leaders and officials have issued similar appeals.

According to reports, police have rounded up half a dozen people since Tuesday night, though the exact charge against them is still not known.

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