Hanuman Jayanthi rally ends peacefully

Hanuman Jayanthi rally ends peacefully

TNN | Apr 7, 2012

HYDERABAD: Much to the relief of the city police, the Hanuman Jayanthi celebration that coincided with the Friday prayers of the Muslim community and Good Friday observed by the Christians passed off peacefully.

The rally, which started at Gowliguda Ram Mandir around 11.30 am, concluded at the Tadbund Hanuman Mandir around 4.30 pm. Several shops and business establishments chose to voluntarily down shutters when the rally passed by as a precautionary measure. However, the rally triggered heavy traffic jams at several places.

In the South and West Zone police limits, cops ensured that all commercial establishments remained closed. Minor tension was reported near Nagulchinta crossroads and Falaknuma when a small procession tried to make its way towards Mecca Masjid in trying to join the main rally, and near Shah Ali Banda when a group of Muslim youths raised counter slogans as a small Hanuman Jayanthi procession passed by. But in both the instances, police ensured that the situation did not go out of control.

In the morning, Vishwa Hindu Parishad leader Praveen Togadia kicked off the procession with a bike rally at Gowliguda Ram Mandir and also gave a speech. A campaign would be taken up against Muslim reservation from April 9 across India, he said and appealed to the Hindu community to use social networking sites and other internet portals to spread the campaign. However, when Togadia gave another speech at the Tadbund Hanuman temple at the culmination of the rally, there were fewer people listening.

It was a major relief for Old City residents as the Hanuman Jayanthi celebrations went off without any untoward incidents. The usually bustling Madina-Pathergatti-Shah Ali Banda stretch wore a desolate look. Most shopkeepers said that given the frequency of massive processions being taken out by people of different communities in the city these days, it was best to exercise caution.

Charminar remained closed even as many unsuspecting tourists tried to reason with security personnel to allow them to enter despite the ‘closed for the day’ boards put up on the gates. Ivona, a disappointed tourist from Sweden said, “I was unaware of the festival. This is my last day in Hyderabad and I really wanted to see Charminar from the inside.”

Traffic diversions, however, left commuters across the city confused. Some said that they had to travel in circles before they could reach their destinations. Bhaskar Benny, a lawyer form Musheerabad said, “Today being Good Friday, people gather in large numbers in churches to pray. However, we had to park our vehicles almost half a kilometre away from Hebron Church on account of traffic diversions and road blocks. The worst affected were the children and the senior citizens.”