HYDERABAD: For thousands of residents at My Happy Home Palace apartments in Rajendranagar, it was an evening of exhaustion and anxiety that ran into a sleepless night on Tuesday when close to 300 policemen cordoned off their premises and about 90 armed commandos of the elite anti-terror unit, Octopus (Organisation for Counter-Terror Operations), marched in in search of armed suspects involved in the failed Muthoot Finance robbery attempt reportedly sheltered at the 710-flat complex.
“At what time did the commandos come to your home on Wednesday?” was the most commonly asked question here. “Most of us residents were afraid that there could be terrorists residing in any of the flats because the scale of the operation was so big. There were some residents who even resisted the search operation as they were afraid that the commandos might harm them,” said N. Srinivas, president of My Happy Homes Palace.
The operation, which began at about 10 pm, saw commandos searching each and every flat in all the nine towers until early morning when the search operation was called off as there was no clue of the robbers’ presence. Groups of commandos, each consisting of two or three men, asked the inmates to stay out and searched every flat inside out until they felt that there was no suspect hiding inside. “The commandos came at 1 am to my house with sniffer dogs. It was disturbing but eventually what they did was for our safety,” said Sikander, a resident.
A teacher, preferring anonymity, questioned the logic behind such a massive operation in a residential locality. “What if there was an exchange of fire? Without specific inputs, what was the hurry for such an operation?” she asked. It all started with the watchman of the building, who noticed an unfamiliar vehicle being parked in the parking lot of Tower No.6 at about 11.30 am.
The two men, who entered the building, changed the number plate of the vehicle and fled. When the watchman got a doubt, he alerted the president of the building owners association at about 3 pm. The police came in at 5 pm and surrounded the building.