Hyderabad: Three people were shot dead and eight injured Wednesday when police opened fire to disperse two clashing groups in Hyderabad, officials said.
An indefinite curfew was imposed to bring the situation under control in Sikh Chowni in Kishanbagh, a part of Cyberabad police commissionerate.
Trouble broke out after miscreants attacked houses and shops of a particular community in the early hours of Wednesday after some unidentified people burnt a religious flag overnight.
Police opened fire to disperse the clashing groups, killing three people and injuring eight, a police spokesman of Cyberabad told IANS.
In the clashes, 15 people, including 10 policemen, were also injured. Few houses and shops were set afire by the attackers and some cars and two-wheelers were also damaged.
Bodies of two victims, both in their 20s, were shifted to government-run Osmania General Hospital and the third, aged 38, was taken to Gandhi Hospital for autopsy. The injured were admitted to the two hospitals.
Relatives of the victims alleged that the assailants armed with swords and knives entered their houses and attacked them. They said police opened fire without using teargas or batons.
A police officer, however, justified the firing, saying it was inevitable to control the situation.
Cyberabad police commissioner C.V. Anand said the situation was brought under control. He appealed to people to maintain calm and cooperate with the police in restoring peace.
As tension spread to the adjoining areas of the old city of Hyderabad, police imposed prohibitory orders. Additional police and paramilitary forces were rushed to the area.
Hyderabad police commissioner Anurag Sharma also visited areas adjoining Kishan Bagh and reviewed the situation.
Shopkeepers in the markets around the historic Charminar downed shutters while police stepped up patrolling.
Rapid Action Force (RAF) was deployed in the communally sensitive old city. Several RAF vehicles were seen moving into the interior areas as a precautionary measure.
Governor E.S.L. Narasimhan reviewed the law and order situation with Chief Secretary P.K. Mohanty and Director General of Police B. Prasada Rao. The governor appealed to the people to maintain peace.
Telugu Desam Party (TDP) chief N. Chandrababu Naidu, YSR Congress party president Y.S. Jaganmohan Reddy, Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) leader K. Chandrasekhara Rao, Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (MIM) chief Asaduddin Owaisi also appealed for peace.
Owaisi also demanded a thorough probe into the police firing and the violence.
One person was killed and many were injured in violence in the same area over a similar incident in 2006.