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Andhra Muslims threaten to intensify protests

Andhra Muslims threaten to intensify protests

Author: Mohammed Shafeeq, Indo-Asian News Service
Publication: Yahoo News
Date: December 23, 2002
URL: http://in.news.yahoo.com/021223/43/1zfg3.html

Muslim groups in Andhra Pradesh have threatened to intensify protests against the killings by police of two youths from the community if a judicial probe is not initiated.

The Joint Action Committee comprising Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen, Jamaat-e-Islami, Majlis-e-Tameer-e-Millat and other groups reiterated their demand for an inquiry into last month's killings by a high court judge and suspension of guilty police officers.

A resolution to this effect was passed at a mammoth pubic meeting organised by the Joint Action Committee here Sunday night to protest the deaths.

Police had killed the two Muslim youths in two separate encounters, claiming they were working for Pakistan-based terror group Lashker-e-Taiba (LeT) and were involved in a blast near a Hindu temple in the city.

Two people were killed and 20 injured in the blast near the Sai Baba temple in.

Two days after the blast, police killed Mohammed Azam on the outskirts of Hyderabad followed by another encounter in Karimnagar district on November 24, killing S.A. Aziz.

The families of both the youths, however, denied the police allegations and said they were killed in fake encounters.

This was the third public meeting organised by the committee since it launched the state-wide stir, with a public meeting at the Adilabad district headquarter on December 18.

The second meeting was held in Nizamabad on December 20.

MIM president and MP Sultan Salahuddin Owaisi warned the state government that the silence of Muslims should not be construed as their weakness.

"The government should not forget what happened during protests against the police in the Rameeza Bi case. Not a single police station was left in the city," he said.

He was referring to attacks on police stations during demonstrations to protest the rape of a Muslim woman in a police station in the 1980s. "Nobody should underestimate our strength. We are still strong," he said.

MIM has four members in the state assembly and one member in Lok Sabha and enjoys tremendous support among Muslims in the state capital and some areas in Telangana region of the state.

Joint Action Committee convenor and eminent Islamic scholar Moulana Hameeduddin Auqil Hussami said the need for the protest was felt because it seemed police could target any Muslim by branding him a terrorist.

"If the police's claims about the two youths are true then why this hesitation in ordering a judicial probe?" he asked.

The killings of the two Muslim youths caused tension in the Muslim-majority walled quarter of the city. Muslims constitute 40 percent of the four million population of the city.

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