HYDERABAD: A day after the special NIA Court acquitted five accused in the Mecca Masjid blast case, security has been beefed up across Hyderabad, particularly in the old city. Though police officials maintained that there was no specific input about trouble and that they had taken up precautionary measures to ensure peace in the city, sources said that the heightened security measures comes in the wake of inputs suggesting certain groups may resort to violent protests.
While teams from Organisation for Counter terrorist operations (OCTOPUS), Task Force assisted by the local police undertook surprise checks at various junctions in the city, Quick Reaction teams (QRTs) were posted at various junctions. ''We are checking vehicles just to ensure that nothing illegal is being smuggled into the city,'' said a police official at Begumpet. Sources said that security agencies have stepped up electronic surveillance while policemen in 'mufti' are scattered all over old city and keeping a close eye on the activities of various fundamentalist organisations, who might use the verdict to foment trouble.
''We are keeping a close eye on mischief mongers and communal offenders. About 1,500 policemen have been deployed across different parts of old city. About 50 police pickets have been posted and we have intensified patrolling in sensitive areas,'' south zone DCP V Satyanarayana told Express. Besides, the policemen are also keeping a close watch on places of worship and CCTVs being monitored round-the-clock.
Even as the Telangana state police, which has stepped up vigil, is leaving no stone unturned to ensure peace prevails in the city, central agencies too are on the job of tracking any conversation among fringe groups who may take advantage of the tense situation. In the communally sensitive areas like Saidabad, policemen are keeping a watch on some old-city based organisations, which used to be very active in the past but have toned down their activities, essentially after the leaders of these organisations, mostly based in areas like Saidabad, have either become old or, are no more. In fact, days after the powerful bomb ripped through the historic mosque on May 18, 2007, several youngsters were picked up from Saidabad.
On the first ''anniversary'' of Mecca blasts in 2008, a Hyderabadi, Viqaruddin Ahmed, who started an outfit of his own -- Tehreek Galbha-e-Islam -- carried out three attacks on policemen, to "avenge" the Mecca masjid blast. One policeman was killed in the attacks. In fact, when he was arrested back then, he had told the police that he was planning a major terror attack. Later, he and his associates were gunned down in an "encounter" with police in Alair . ''But there are quite a few who sympathise with Viqar and are active,'' sources said.