Congress announces black flag protests against Secretariat demolitions

Hyderabad, July 11: The Congress party has decided to organise statewide protest against the demolition of places of worship in the Secretariat complex.

The decision was taken in a meeting chaired by former minister & ex-Leader of Opposition in Legislative Council Mohammed Ali Shabbir at Gandhi Bhavan on Saturday. The meeting, convened by Hyderabad City Congress Committee Minorities Department chairman Sameer Waliullah was attended by senior leaders including TPCC Vice President Zafar Jaweed, TPCC Spokesperson Syed Nizamuddin, TPCC General Secretary SK. Afzaluddin, Nampally Incharge Feroz Khan and others.

Addressing a press conference after the meeting, Shabbir Ali informed that the Congress party would organise statewide protest against the demolition of two mosques and a temple in the Secretariat complex. He said that the demolition was totally illegal and aimed at hurting the sentiments of all communities. He said that the Chief Minister was treating the entire Telangana as his personal 'jagir' and he needs to be taught a lesson. He alleged that CM KCR was destroying the heritage of Telangana without giving any respect to the sentiments of other people.

In the first phase of protest, Shabbir Ali announced that the Congress party would appeal its cadre and other common people to hoist black flags at their residences. They will also wear black masks and badges. He said this would be organised at a massive scale and people of all communities would be involved in the protest. He said that the mode of protest in the second phase would be decided after consulting the party High Command. He said since AICC President Sonia Gandhi had a video-conference with the party MPs and other senior leaders today, PCC President Uttam Kumar Reddy and other senior leaders could not be consulted on the issue. He said a meeting would be held soon to finalise the agitation schedule in the second phase.

Shabbir Ali rejected the apology tendered by the Chief Minister over demolition of places of worship in the Secretariat and described it as fake and deceptive. He said that CM KCR's claim that he was ignorant about the demolition was a joke and the biggest lie. He also rejected KCR's offer for construction of a new mosque and said that both the mosques 'Masjid-e-Hashmi' and 'Masjid-e-Moatamadi' in the Secretariat complex should be re-constructed immediately. He said there was no question of shifting the mosques to any other places. He said that the Muslim community would never agree to shift any mosque even if the Chief Minister offers to build it 100 times bigger with gold and diamonds.

The Congress leader said that there was no question of any compromise on the issue as it concerns the faith of all Muslims. He asked the Chief Minister to order re-construction of the places of worship at the same place without any delay.

Later, the Congress leaders burnt the effigy of CM KCR outside the Gandhi Bhavan. The Congress workers raised slogans against KCR and TRS Govt.