Four youths held for desecration of temple

The incident triggered riots in Hyderabad earlier this month.

It was not ‘jihadis,' but four Hindu youths, instigated by two local leaders, who planted the legs of a cow and sprinkled green paint in a temple at Madanappet, sparking communal clashes in the old city three weeks ago, the police have said. The youths have been arrested, and the police have launched a hunt for Niranjan, a wine merchant, and Srinivas, a moneylender, accused of masterminding the desecration. The arrested were Nagaraj, who works as a contract sanitation supervisor in the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation; Kiran Kumar, a florist; Ramesh, a hotel worker; and Dayanand Singh, a car driver. All of them hail from Kurmaguda of Madannapet.

The arrested persons did not have any criminal record, but were organising religious programmes in the area. Their aim was to create communal disturbances and turn the situation to their advantage by provoking and uniting the Hindus, the police said on Friday. The absconding persons did not belong to any religious organisation. They used to lead youngsters of the area in celebrating Ganesh Chaturthi and Navaratri. The two believed that by projecting a threat from the rival community, they could unite the Hindus. They anticipated some trouble during Sri Rama Navami and Hanuman Jayanti in the first week of April. “As the events passed off peacefully, they conspired to trigger communal clashes,” the police said.

Investigators said the youths met in a wine shop and finalised their plan on April 7, allegedly at the behest of Niranjan and Srinivas. Being a sanitation worker, Nagaraj knew a place at Chanchalguda, where the burnt legs of animals are dumped. While he collected two severed legs of a cow, another procured a bottle of paint. Past midnight on April 7, they went up to the temple, planted the legs on the wall, inserting them through the iron grill, and sprinkled the paint.

The next morning, as the news spread, the Hindus of the locality gathered in large numbers. When a sniffer dog headed for the main road, a mob followed it and started throwing stones, damaging Muslim property. As the affected persons retaliated, clashes broke out at Madanappet and Saidabad, prompting the police to impose curfew on the areas under the two police stations. The police began their investigation, picking up youngsters involved in cases of property damage. Ramesh was among those held. He came out on bail four days ago. Piecing together the leads, the City Police Commissioner's Task Force teams picked him up again. And he admitted to his offence. On his confession, the other three were nabbed.

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