Hyderabad: Police zealousness to maintain law and order in the communally sensitive city in wake of the Allahabad High Court judgement in the Ayodhya title suit today drew flak from certain quarters here.
Locals complained that police created a virtual curfew -like situation by forcing shopkeepers to down their shutters since 12 noon, a charge strongly denied by the Andhra DGP.
State-run Road Transport Corporation withdrew majority of its city services since afternoon, leaving people stranded at many places.
The normally-crowded main roads wore a deserted look as people started heading home. Around 30,000 police personnel were deployed in the city.
"Police have no business to disrupt public life. Rather than instilling confidence among people, police themselves created a sense of insecurity," Sambasiva, a senior business executive, said while venting his ire at police "over -action".
DGP K Aravinda Rao, however, denied having enforced a bandh in the city. "There was no bandh or curfew except prohibitory orders under CrPC Section 144 preventing unlawful assembly. Shopkeepers voluntarily downed their shutters."
In other important cities in the state like Visakhapatnam and Vijayawada, life remained normal.
Chief Minister K Rosaiah had yesterday shot down the idea of declaring a holiday. "Everyone will do their own work as usual. There is no need for declaring a holiday as it will send a wrong signal," he had said.
Things, however, looked different today. Around 11 am, educational institutions suddenly decided to close for the day causing panic among parents.
"I got a call from my son's school around 11 am saying they have declared a holiday and wanted me to take him home. It was shocking," a mother fumed as she rushed to pick up her son from a reputed school at Abids.
Patrolling the streets in their vehicles, police reportedly asked shopkeepers to close their businesses catching everyone by surprise.
"Police made announcements through speakers fitted to their vehicles asking us to down the shutters. They even abused those who did not comply with their orders," said a restaurant manager at the busy Saifabad area, a stone's throw from the state police headquarters.
Hyderabad Police Commissioner A K Khan, too, denied having enforced a bandh. "We have not done that. Shopkeepers themselves closed their shops," he said.
In the Old City, people alleged police resorted to cane-charge at many places to prevent people from moving on the streets.