Hyderabad, June 15 (IANS) Anticipating violence, authorities cancelled permission to the Ahmadiyya community to hold a conclave here Sunday that was opposed by various Muslim groups.
Tension prevailed around the Public Gardens in the heart of the city as police imposed prohibitory orders banning gathering of five or more people and increased security in view of the plans by Muslims groups to lay siege to the venue before the meet.
Facing a piquant situation, the authorities at the last minute cancelled permission to the community to hold the meeting at Lalitha Kala Thoranam, an open air theatre in Public Gardens.
As thousands of Muslims held a massive public meeting Saturday night and were preparing to march towards the Public Gardens early Sunday, the director of cultural affairs informed the police that permission accorded to different groups for various programmes at Thoranam over the next three days have been cancelled.
Officials said the electricity supply system to the open air auditorium broke down due to short circuit and hence all programmes were cancelled.
The order cancelling the permission was pasted on the office of the Ahmadiyya community as their representatives refused to receive them.
Police erected barbed wire fencing at the entrance of the venue and personnel of the paramilitary Rapid Action Force (RAF) were deployed to avert any showdown.
Dozens of Muslims groups led by Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (MIM), a political party, has threatened to lay siege to the venue from Sunday morning to prevent the controversial sect from holding the meet.
Holding a massive meeting at Darussalam, the MIM headquarters, the Muslim groups declared that they would not allow the meeting to take place come what may.
Branding Ahmadiyyas as non-Muslims, these groups alleged that the sect was hurting the religious sentiments of Muslims by carrying on their activities in the name of Islam but preaching an ideology that goes against the basic principle of the religion.
Dozens of Muslims continued to arrive at Thoranam to satisfy themselves that no meeting was being allowed.
On a petition by Ahmadiyya Jamaat, the Andhra Pradesh High Court Friday had asked police to grant permission to the group to hold the meeting. The Jamaat had moved the court after the state government refused permission following protests from some Muslim groups.
Chief Minister Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy had directed the police not to allow the community to hold its meeting at any public place as this could create law and order problems in the city.
A delegation of Muslim groups led by Hyderabad MP Asaduddin Owaisi had called on Reddy June 9 to demand that the Ahmadiyyas, also called Qadianis, not be allowed to hold their conference.
The Jamaat, a Punjab-based 119-year-old sect, had planned to hold the ‘Khilafat centenary celebrations’ at Thoranam. The sect was founded 1889 in Qadian in Punjab by Mirza Ghulam Ahmed who claimed that he was a prophet.
The sect was declared non-Muslim in many Muslim countries as followers of Islam believe that Prophet Mohammed was the last prophet and no prophet or messenger would come after him.
Muslims constitute 30 percent of Hyderabad’s seven million population. The Ahmadiyya sect has an estimated 5,000 followers in the city.