Hyderabad is being described as sliding back into the Stone Age as a fourth day of riots hits the city. Curfews have been implemented and extended. Reports are emerging of mobs running riot, homes being set alight, looting, with one person stabbed to death. Pedestrians and people in their cars were targeted by the mobs and many of them had their vehicles set alight.
India since its creation has been rocked by communal riots, where minority communities have been massacred. The Gujarat massacre in 2002 led to nearly 1000 Muslims being butchered with the help of the local police. This is not the first time events have simmered beyond control in India’s Southern city of Hyderabad. Hyderabad saw its worst communal riots in 1989, which were triggered after Marri Chenna Reddy took over as chief minister, frustrating the attempts of another powerful faction in the Congress which wanted to see its leader in power.
This latest wave of riots comes at a time when the central government has dithered over its pledge to grant statehood to Telangana, a region of Andhra Pradesh state that would encompass Hyderabad. Telangana activists have speculated that the best way to capture New Delhi’s attention is to threaten the economic security of Andhra Pradesh’s prized IT hub, Hyderabad. This would not be the image Indian policymakers wish to portray to investors.
The Indian central government has thus far been extremely vague on the details and timeline of the Telangana statehood plan, with no mention of the status of Hyderabad. Redrawing the map and placing Hyderabad in an undeveloped Telangana state under a fledgling government authority would cause intense concern for investors. With rumours circulating that Hyderabad could instead be declared a union territory, separate from Andhra Pradesh and a newly created Telangana state and be run directly by the government in New Delhi, this would completely derail the Telangana Rashtra Samiti (TRS) political party’s ambitions. When India’s central government allied with the TRS to come to power, congress promised the creation of an independent Telangana state. The central government now loathes the prospect of placing Hyderabad’s economic future in jeopardy for the sake of Telangana claims to statehood.
Whilst the details of the riots are still emerging it appears that Hindu groups replaced flags planted by Muslims in the locality with Hindu Saffron ones during the Hanuman Jayanti festival on Saturday 27th March 2010. A similar communal clash occurred in Kurmaguda-Santosh Nagar area of the old city the previous week when green flags were removed by some people to put saffron flags on the occasion of the Hindu festival of Ram Navmi.
A survey report of the riot-affected areas in the Old City by Cova by a citizen activist group, has thrown light on the fact that the clashes were orchestrated. “Armed mobs were brought in and the whole thing was planned. What we could gather was that the various localities were first surveyed by a group of 30-40 youths who left after initiating chaos. Then the armed mobs followed and attacked each other,” a member of the group said.
Many in congress are describing the current riots as being orchestrated. Eyewitnesses confirmed what politicians alleged. While armed instigators wore masks and carried out an SMS campaign to spread attacks across the Old City, locals said that outsiders orchestrated the violence. One resident described: “I am a resident of this locality for the past several years and can recognise all the trouble-makers. Normally, when trouble breaks out, we look for a local face so that we can make peace through them and sort out the issue without violence. But in this instance, there were no locals and these people ignored our pleas,” said a Begum Bazar businessman.
Has this episode all been engineered? This has already been established. On Monday 29th March 2010 Hyderabad City Police Commissioner AK Khan, briefing the media about the clashes described the clashes in the Old City as an ‘organised attempt’ by some persons which would be probed by the Special Investigation Team (SIT). Khan said, “It looks like some persons incited the violence deliberately.”
Observers have said that there were no riots even after the Mecca Masjid, Lum bini Garden and Gokul Chat bomb blasts in the city. “That is because the masses from both the communities are not interested in trouble. This clearly shows a sinister hand behind the incidents,” an analyst said.
Such communal riots have historically been used by politicians to achieve their own political ends. The Gujarat massacre in 2002 was used by Narendra Modi to hold onto his seat of Chief Minister of the state of Gujrat. Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh’s most densely populated district last saw such riots in 1989 when Marri Chenna Reddy took over as chief minister, frustrating the attempts of another powerful faction in the Congress which wanted to see its leader in power.
In an attempt to force the government’s hand on the issue, Telangana activists have previously caused major disruptions in the city and surrounding areas through strikes, blockades and sporadic attacks on businesses. Some Telangana political activists are now accusing members of the ruling Congress party of sparking this recent spate of communal riots in an attempt to stave off a decision on Telangana, claiming that the riots were designed to support Congress assertions that the division of the state would lead to an escalation of Hindu-Muslim tensions.
This episode once again shows how cheap Muslim blood has become, where the enemies of Islam spill the blood of Ummah to achieve their own political ends. Across the world a number of nations have spilt Muslim blood to achieve their political objectives. The US has killed over 500 000 Muslim children to gain Iraq’s coveted oil fields. Zardari and Musharraf both spilt Muslim blood to please their masters. The blood of the Ummah is now spilt by the Muslim rulers.
When the Romans invaded Malatya, (part of Turkey today), in 840 many of its citizens were killed, whilst the women were taken as slaves, it included a Muslim women who was a descendent of the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم. On hearing about her cries Al-Mu’tasim Billah, the Khaleefah led a huge army to the ‘Amuriyyah fort, where she was imprisoned. Overrunning the fortresses and then conquering the territory, the Muslim woman was freed from her chains. The fort was destroyed and Al-Mu’tasim said to her ‘be a witness with your grandfather Al-Mustafa, the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم, that I came to rescue you’.
It was the Khilafah that defended the honour of the Muslims, caring little for the geographical boundaries and borders.
Abdullah bin Umar said – I saw the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم doing tawwaf around the Ka’aba saying “How sweet/ good are you and how sweet is your scent. How great are you and how great is your sanctity. By the One who the soul of Mohammad biyadihi the sanctity of a believer is greater with Allah than your sanctity.” [ibn Majah]