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Updated: April 1, 2010 18:20 IST

Communal aggression, a cumulative effect

K. Srinivas Reddy
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A motorbike is on fire during the recent violence in the old city area of Hyderabad. Photo: Mohammed Yousuf
A motorbike is on fire during the recent violence in the old city area of Hyderabad. Photo: Mohammed Yousuf

The conflict over tying of religious flags might appear to be the flashpoint for the communal clashes that led to enforcement of curfew in the old city, but the sudden outburst of unbridled aggression from both the communities was the cumulative effect of various developments over the past few weeks.

These developments, both political and religious, have led to growing distrust between the communities and the muscle-flexing by political parties to consolidate their bases made the residents nurture a confrontationist attitude.

The flare-up of violence is a direct outcome of this hardened attitude.

A pattern

There is a pattern if one were to examine some seemingly unconnected developments over the past few weeks. The Jamaat e-Islami Hind's public meeting in Hyderabad in which Jamaat leaders had endorsed the demand for the State's bifurcation, contrary to the stand taken by the MIM seemed to have set the ball rolling.

The MIM, despite its complete sway over the minority community, perceived it as a development that could erode its political base and renewed its efforts to further consolidate its base, though these efforts were not directed against any political party.

A series of developments like celebration of Milad-un-Nabi on an unprecedented scale, (where thousands of religious flags were pitched at various places and buntings strung across the streets), a massive rally on account of MIM's 52{+n}{+d} year of revival, the party's agitation demanding reservation for minorities had led to some unease among some sections of the majority community.

Deep suspicion

This section in the majority community had always been nurturing the feeling that the minorities were being given undue importance and that the police always handled them with kid gloves.

Several cite the example of police being extremely accommodative in allowing a minority procession via Assembly building, bypassing the prohibitory orders.

These developments, keenly watched by the other community, were sought to be counter-balanced. Public meetings were addressed by religious leaders like Acharya Dharmendra or VHP leaders where some controversial statements were made. The majority community was exhorted to celebrate Sri Ramanavami and Hanuman Jayanti on a massive scale and the underlying message was that it should surpass the Milad-un-Nabi procession.

Trigger point

In this scenario, the efforts to pitch saffron flags after removing the green flags led to the first conflict in Madannapet, but the issue was localised with timely police intervention.

However, it took an ugly turn on the night of March 27 when groups clashed in Moosabowli over the issue of removing and tying new buntings.

The next day, violence flared up and continued till Tuesday.

The other contributory factor for the current situation is the failure of the law enforcement agencies to put two and two together and initiate security arrangements.

This is the reason why police failed to anticipate that the Bajrang Dal rally on Tuesday would turn violent and allowed it to take out the procession despite the situation being very tense.

The failure was further accentuated with the general sense of apathy among the police ranks at the cutting-edge level as they believed that any stern action could be construed as ‘over action' marking them for departmental harassment at the behest of political parties.

The sum total of all these developments is the situation which the State capital is witnessing now.

It remains to be seen whether the investigating agencies would manage to get any evidence to substantiate the allegations of political conspiracy theories doing the rounds.


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