Bhainsa town in Telangana was rocked by communal violence once again. Emboldened by rising demographics, Islamic radicals ran riot over hapless Hindu residents of Bhainsa. The TRS Government prevented public representatives from reaching out to the victims of violence. Arvind Dharmapuri, MP from Nizamabad, spoke to Organiser Editor Prafulla Ketkar and Senior Correspondent Nishant Kr. Azad on a wide-range of topics, including Bhainsa riots. Edited excerpts:
What happened in Bhainsa is not new. As a representative from that region, how do you see this particular incident?
First, Bhainsa is situated adjacent to my parliamentary constituency. Whatever happens in Bhainsa has more impact on my constituency than the Adilabad parliament segment, which it is a part of. So it is always important to me. Secondly, there was another development in the town of Bodhan, which is near Bhainsa, which falls under my parliament segment. Seventy-two passports were issued to Rohingyas and Bangladeshis, and 33 of them had the same address from Bodhan Bagh. Besides, all of them have voter IDs. All of them were illegally issued initial Aadhaar cards in West Bengal. Thirty of them entered Jammu with the assistance of three MLAs of Hyderabad from a party that predominantly belongs to Hyderabad and is now spreading its wings in West Bengal, Bihar and Maharashtra. So now you are aware of this party. These MLAs are hand-in-glove with those running racket of illegal immigrants. It is not me who is saying this; this is the police department’s investigation, which has come out in certain media reports too. They have named the MLA and the party also.
Coming to Bhainsa, there has been a series of riots. It is a communally-sensitive place, so is Bodhan town. But then, there is a statement issued by the IG of that place, Nagi Reddy. I am ashamed to say that he belongs to the Hindu community. He says Hindu Vahini Karyakartas are behind the riots. Nagi Reddy should answer how many culprits he has punished from last year’s riots which were far more serious than March 7 evening riots? You have done nothing. There is also a councillor who is arrested now and another AIMIM leader. Those people had been expelled from Maharashtra for 15 years but are also active in AIMIM. The councillor’s name is Fasir Lakhvi. Another is Majid, who is from Bokar in Maharashtra. He was expelled from his region 15 years ago and is now quite active in the Bhainsa unit of AIMIM. And the IG of the place says Hindu Vahini people are behind the riots. The fact is that eight out of 10 people who were stabbed were all Hindus. Last year tens of thousands of houses were burnt completely or were partially damaged. Many were injured, and a few were killed. The worst affected victims belonged to the Hindu community. Now Nagi Reddy says Hindus are attacking Hindus. He doesn’t want to take AIMIM members to task. Nor does the KCR administration want to help the victims. When we went last year to Bhainsa after the riots, the Collector Ashraf Ali said that we had given 5 kg rice to the riots’ victims. What does he mean? Is he making fun?
‘Seventy-two passports were issued to Rohingyas and Bangladeshis, and 33 of them had the same address from Bodhan Bagh. Besides, all of them have voter IDs’
But the parties like AIMIM claim that they are following the Constitution. They have the audacity to blame the BJP and its allied organisations, the Hindu Vahini, for vitiating the atmosphere outside Telangana. So, how would you explain this to the larger audience?
I want to ask a question. A week ago, five members of a Hindu family were murdered in Pakistan. Where are the anti-CAA activists who were very active on the streets of Delhi? Are they secular or peculiar? I will say peculiar, not secular. Where are they gone? They are not active on Twitter now. I am desperately missing to see them on screen. So many illegal passports were issued from one single town of Bodhan. Where are these anti-CAA activists who don’t want NRC to be implemented? Where are they now? Why hasn’t Rahul Gandhi given a reaction to the Bhainsa riots? A four-year-old Hindu girl was molested by a Muslim boy in Mirzapur village near Bhainsa. Why didn’t Rahul Gandhi go there and make a big scene? So their commitment to secularism will show up only when there is a BJP Government in power or the victim is a non-Hindu. I am ashamed to say the AIMIM men and Rahul Gandhi are my fellow-countrymen.
After the Ijtama procession, riots are planned. Mounds of stones are piled up in nearby mosques and after the procession, stones are pelted. They keep fuel ready to burn down Hindu houses. Weapons are amassed in large quantities. Such a riot cannot be spontaneous as is being portrayed in the media
This anti-Hindu riots occured just before commencement of Maha Shivaratri. Bhainsa has seen similar riots on the occasion of various Hindu festivals. Is there a pattern?
There is a procession called Ijtama. After the procession, riots are planned. Mounds of stones are piled up in nearby mosques and after the procession, stones are pelted. They keep fuel ready to burn down Hindu houses. Weapons are amassed in large quantities. Such a riot cannot be a spontaneous reaction as portrayed in the media. You can draw parallels with the Delhi riots. AIMIM MLAs are facilitating illegal migrants to get passports and settle down in Jammu. These illegal immigrants are spreading across India. Their network is all over India now. It is high time the majority community to realises the danger posed by these immigrants.
What is the role of the TRS Government in this?
TRS is indulging in vote-bank politics. They want the Hindu population to decline in Bhainsa and the non-Hindu population to increase. There is a conspiracy to drive out Hindus from Bhainsa town and create another Kashmir in Telangana. It is more about demography; they want to change the demography of the place.
Demographic change is taking place in several places in India over a period of time. Some people ask what you are doing to halt the process. Although riots are taking place, the exodus is taking place, it’s good that you are taking a stand and speaking for the riot victims, but what to do next, so that in future, no riots take place? What is the party doing for the victims?
Our team visited the riot-hit areas after we were allowed to go. We spoke to the victims. We have promised compensation. Several Hindu organisations pooled in money to help victims. Whatever we could do we did. The houses were re-built. However, Hindus are being driven out; they are scared to live in that city. Their confidence needs to be renewed. They should stay back. We don’t want them to leave their places. Strangely, we are not even allowed to go there, but AIMIM leaders can go there. They can create chaos there; they can do whatever they want to. Such kind of situation is there in Telangana now.
The State Government was deliberately preventing you from visiting the site. The administration and AIMIM are working hand-in-glove. What do you think?
Of course, they work in tandem. Not just in Bhainsa but in other places too. They are issuing illegal passports, giving shelter to Rohingyas and illegal Bangladeshis in Hyderabad and the state of Telangana. Now the network is spreading in different States as well. Their Aadhar cards were issued initially from West Bengal.
So the TRS Government is controlled by AIMIM?
Yes, the remote control is with AIMIM. In many municipalities, TRS is running the government with the help of AIMIM. Like in Nizamabad, BJP won a majority with 28 seats, TRS won 13 and AIMIM won 16, so both got together. In Hyderabad, help was taken from AIMIM. Bhainsa is under the AIMIM rule.
What is the long-term solution? This is not about a particular area or some families; this is the fragmentation of the entire Indian society on communal lines. What is the long-term solution to this problem?
We are the largest democracy on the face of the planet. At the end of the day, people are the supreme judges. When you vote for general elections, it is a kind of Supreme Court judgment. We want the majority community to realise that if you keep quiet, Kashmir will be repeated in Telangana as well. Please open your eyes, it’s high time to realise which party is doing what to gain power. Various organisations are playing their cards cleverly; from the West, critics are pressuring the government by saying that India’s democracy index is going down, freedom of expression is curtailed. How do you see this and what are the ways to counter it because ultimately, these are the narratives built by such people. So as a nation, we need to counter this narrative. Our nationalist people on social media outlets can counter them. We have sacrificed enough by dividing the country into three parts — that is more than sacrifice. Now we cannot tolerate all this. All these Acts have to come. Where is the anti-CAA team that was active in Delhi? Five Hindus have been killed in Pakistan. Seventy-two illegal passports have been issued in this one term itself. How many more have been issued along with voter IDs? Why would you allow Bangladeshis to vote in Indian elections?
‘You cannot target Hindus in a Hindu nation. The term secular might be there in the Constitution, but fact of the matter is that 80 per cent population of India is Hindu. A great man once said: “The nation is not mere landmass but the people who reside there” ‘
But the demography has been changed in some parts, and we are seeing its impact also. In such a scenario, where demography has changed a lot, like in Kerala, which is going for elections and in some parts of Tamil Nadu and eventually in Telangana, how do you see the prospects of the nationalist parties?
Religion is a personal matter. But Bangladeshi and Rohingyas cannot come here and change the demographics. Primarily this is very important wherever they live. These organisations are targeting Hindus, by changing their religion. Why conversion is happening so fast in Andhra Pradesh? This has to be stopped. You cannot target Hindus in a Hindu nation. The term secular might be there in the Constitution, but fact of the matter is that 80 per cent population of India is Hindu. A great man once said: “The nation is not mere landmass but the people who reside there”.
Are you going to raise these issues in Parliament also?
Yes, the Bhainsa issue was raised in Parliament by my colleague from Adilabad. I could not raise the issue last week, but on coming Monday I will raise the issue of illegal passports and Bhainsa, and the rape of the four years old minor girl.