In the dark shadows of Charminar

Hyderabad, March 31: Hyderabad a city of rich cultural heritage, a melting pot of different religions, nationalities and civilizations and bearer of a unique style of communication is sending a different message to the world today. It is turning out to be the battle ground for vested interests and fanatical politics. For long there was peace and prosperity and it was visible in every sphere of life. President Clinton’s visit made it a city of reckoning on the world map. Unfortunately, for some this scenario of amity and good-will was too much to bear.

On February 24th, the Milad-Un-Nabi celebrations were being carried out in full swing. Green Flags were fluttering in the entire Old City. One month later, these flags were removed to put up saffron flags marking the Sri Ram Navami celebrations on March 24 in Madannapet (near Saidabad Colony), marking the first of the tensions. On March 27, organizers of Hanuman Jayanti celebrations in Moosa Bowli in the Old City tried to hoist their flags, removing the ones that had been put up for Milad-un-Nabi. After heated arguments there were clashes and then it was a free for all.

On the following Sunday, at around 11am, the BJP state unit president G Kishan Reddy and Himayatnagar MLA Baddam Bal Reddy were prevented from visiting the Peepal Hanuman temple in Moosabowli by the police, where clashes had occurred on Saturday night. Angered, the locals attacked houses and shops of the other community who retaliated with equal vengeance.

Latest Intelligence reports reveal that a key Karnataka BJP minister and Bellary strongman allegedly paid radical outfits to orchestrate riots in the city. A minister, who runs mines in AP, had developed a grouse against the K. Rosaiah government for its swift action in curbing illegal mining and transport of ore and for its cancellation of mine leases. Using his money power, this minister had reportedly arranged funding to different outfits in the city. The state Congress leadership, which has got the information about the Karnataka minister’s alleged role, has communicated it to the AICC leadership. It is learnt that Congress president, Sonia Gandhi, who was briefed about the intelligence findings, has directed the state government to take firm steps in handling the law and order situation.

Meanwhile, Vijayawada Congress MP, Lagadapati Rajagopal, who met the Congress president’s political secretary, Ahmed Patel, also alleged that the Hyderabad riots were the handiwork of the BJP.
“It is all happening after Kishen Reddy took the reins of the party in the state,” he said. “The BJP wants to prove its existence in Hyderabad through this.” He appealed to the state government to curb the incidents with an iron hand and warned that Pakistan’s ISI would further exploit the situation.

Needless to say the victims of riots are always poor. Poverty has no religion. The riot-hit families never have any hope that the marauders will ever be brought to book. At best, some innocent people will be made scapegoats. Experience has made cynics of ordinary citizens.