MIM withdraws support to Congress
Ancient temple near Charminar
N Nagaraja Rao
DIWALI, the festival of lights did not bring in any cheer for many a citizens in the old city of Hyderabad and this, one of the most colorful festivals was celebrated in a lower key all because a political party (Majlis Ittehad Muslimeen ) that holds sway on the other side of the Musi river assumed it holds the sole preserve of protecting the historical Charminar and were more concerned than the Archaeological Survey of India for its upkeep. The 400-year-old monument and the usually busy markets around it were deserted with armed policemen visible in the entire area. Markets were forced to shut down by police fearing viokent reprisals by unruly mobs. A festival that is supposed to dispel darkness, ignorance and evil from the world apparently did not succeed.
It all began with the management committee of Bhagyalakshmi temple abutting the historical Charminar choosing to erect a makeshift pandal and also planning to decorate with lamps and electric lights as it has been doing since decades. MIM party leadership who do not miss any opportunity to create communal disturbances catering to its communal constituency went with the no holds campaign that the temple is being reconstructed and historical monument Charminar was being destroyed and holes were being drilled. They started spreading false canards with few photographs alleging drilling undertaken by temple committee, posting conveniently on social media to suit their agenda. A little Photoshop trickery and suitable background added to make it a deadly cocktail. They then went about gheraoing the temple with the unruly mob and thus resulting in police calling for Rapid Action force deployment to face any potential violent onslaught.
Press and the electronic media realized belatedly that photographs circulated by MIM are false since the ASI officials themselves indicated that there is no damage to the monument . The hole being shown is at best the ventilation on the walls of Charminar. While the violent protests were on, batch of Public Interest Litigation’s was filed by MIM corporator Mohammed Ghouse and Mohsin Balala of Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen and others. The petitioners alleged that the construction activity close to Charminar was in violation of the law and the guidelines of the Supreme Court, had sought the intervention of the court to protect the monument.
Andhra Pradesh high court ordered that status quo as on October 31 should be maintained and no alternations or expansion of the temple should take place. A division bench comprising of acting Chief Justice Pinak Chandra Ghose and Justice Vilas V Afzalpurkar passed the order on a batch of public interest litigation petitions filed by different individuals and organisations. Issuing notices to the State government, the Archaeological Survey of India the Hyderabad police as well as the Bhagyalakshmi temple committee, the court said that it will hear the case in detail after four weeks. Describing the matter as very sensitive, the judges said that status quo of October 31 should be maintained. Violence continued by MIM goons even after and ironically in addition to attacking the police, Mr. Asaduddin Owasi, who is the MP from Hyderabad lodged a complaint with the State Human Rights Commission headed by Mr. Nissar Ahmed Kakru, stating that the police was harassing Muslims.
Rumors started making rounds that a construction of a canopy over a temple abutting the monument is taking place with the active connivance of the Greater Hyderabad Municipal corporation and the Archaeological Survey of India and despite denials by the state government and agencies involved the frenzy of MIM went unabated. Police Commissioner Anurag Sharma clarified that the temple committee was allowed to cover the temple structure with tarpaulin sheets after Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) said the structure had the covers as on Oct 30.
On 4th November night at 1 am, over 3000 Muslims gathered as the police remained mute spectators. They pelted stones at public and private properties. In the rioting, three police vehicles were damaged, an ATM and a super market were completely damaged. ‘As tension mounted in some parts of old city over the rumors the area was cordoned off and some leaders of MIM party were prevented from trying to proceed towards Charminar, violating prohibitory orders banning assembly of five or more persons. “Six MIM legislators and its two councillors were taken into custody as a precautionary measure for not allowing police to maintain status quo orders of the Andhra Pradesh High Court. Arrest of MIM legislators and corporators rattled the calm and peace of the Old City with MIM workers clashing with policemen in their strongholds.
A lesser share in power and not so lucrative positions and ministries left the YSR faction fuming. They would need to seek and find a way to remove Chenna Reddy from power. Hyderabad and the MIM would help them in that plan. While reasons for the riots vary – it is by and large acknowledged that this was started with the help of imported goondas from the Rayalseema region starting October 1990. The YSR faction brought in hundreds of its murderers and stoked communal tensions through October 1990. In the weeks of December the attempts to spark a communal riot was in full flow by the Congress goondas. The idea behind this was to provoke a law and order situation that would lead to the resignation of M. Chenna Reddy. As the people of the city suffered, there was another war within the Congress party. The factional feud was out in the open and Chenna Reddy was accused by the YSR faction of not being able to control the law and order situation in Hyderabad. Finally Rajiv Gandhi succumbed and he asked the CM – Chenna Reddy to resign. However the late leader – Chenna Reddy – had the last laugh. He resigned with a condition that power be passed on to a neutral candidate – another Chiristian MP called Janardhan Reddy. But the YSR faction had achieved its diabolical aim of making Chenna Reddy step down from power.
Bhagyalakshmi Temple which is under siege was in the news earlier too. In 1979, there was a siege on the Kaaba ( Mecca) by one Muslim group which wanted to take control of the Kaaba. In protest of violent assault on Kaaba, the MIM called for a bandh of Hyderabad on Nov 23 1979. As is always the case, any disturbance and eventual Muslim turmoil worldwide leads to attacks on Hindus and other non-Muslims. Although Hindus were no way remotely connected with the takeover of the Kaaba, there were attacks on Hindus and the Hindu temples. The temple now under question was also attacked and desecrated. Eyewitness accounts say a Muslim bus driver ran his double decker bus over the temple resulting in heavy damage and the then state government led by late Mr Chenna Reddy directed immediate renovation. The Muslim fanatics also set fire to Hindu shops. As usual no action was taken about the rioters. The inaction of the government to take the rioters to task, emboldens them. The Sri Bhagyalakshmi Temple is an ancient temple, located adjacent to the Charminar. The city of Bhagyanagar, viz today’s Hyderabad was named after Devi (Goddess) Bhagyalakshmi. This fact has also been established by famous social historians like Sri Suravaram Pratapa Reddy and Sri Biruduraju Rama Raju.
Withdrawl of support to UPA at Centre and Congress in the state
Very few believe that MIM choose to withdraw its support over the temple issue. Another reason cited by the state BJP President Mr Kishen Reddy is the land lease of Mahavir Hospital which MIM is allegedly demanding cancellation and transfer to its kitty. This 17 acre hospital in the heart of the city is believed to be the bone of contention between the state government and the MIM. There is stiff resistance from the bureaucracy to hand over the land on a platter to MIM.
Political analysts say Owaisi emerged as a powerful voice of the community at the national level and is keen to expand the party in other parts of the state. MIM changed the political scene in Nanded town of Maharashtra by bagging 11 seats in elections in Nanded Municipal Corporation.
In the state MIM has a good presence in majority of the 10 districts in Telangana and some other pockets in Rayalaseema. It is now looking to strengthen its base to increase its strength in 294-member assembly. During the last elections the MIM won seven assembly seats in Hyderabad, which was its best-ever performance. The party sees a potential to emerge as a kingmaker in the event of a hung assembly. Muslims are about 10 percent of the state’s 84.6 million population. They constitute about 40 percent of Hyderabad’s nearly eight million population and 15 to 25 percent in some pockets of Telangana and Rayalaseema. Thus Congress and opposition vie with one another to appease them . Ironically none of the parties need their support for survival. Even after withdrawl of support by MIM ,the Congress has 155 legislators – the magic figure being 148 for simple majority after Praja Rajyam party led by Matinee Idol Chiranjeevi merged his party and now a central tourism Minister in UPA.
The MIM has been led by the Owaisi family that traces itself to the court of the Nizam. The MIM has a virtual Islamic army of thousands of dedicated captains. lieutenants and soldiers that make the old city of Hyderabad a virtual Radical Muslim forte where Hindus live as second class citizens in virtual fear of their lives. Those that claim that Muslims are inherently secular- give discourse on Ganga -Jamuna Tehzeeb should pay visit to Hyderabad. Perceptions may differ but the truth is, common Muslim is a bigot who supports the MIM and religiously elects the communal Owaisi and family. Hyderabad is an example of perverted secularism for a Hindu living in a majority Muslim area. It is a dhimmi state where the kafir lives the life of a second class citizen deprived of any dignity or respect and apparently every government elected by people toes the line dictated by MIM aided by the likes of Digvijay Singh’s ,Ghulam Nabi Azads and Vylar Ravi’s,the die hard secular trio.