At a time the city witnessed tension following Legislator now-suspended by the Bharatiya Janata Party T. Raja Singh’s hurtful remarks against Prophet Muhammad, it was the appeal to exercise restraint and remain calm that political and religious leaders issued a day before that proved decisive in Friday coming to a close without any untoward incidents.
There was a mild flutter and concern when the outfit Tahreek Muslim Shabban, before Mr. Singh was arrested under the Preventive Detention Act, called upon Muslims to embark on a “rally” from the Mecca Masjid. The call was later withdrawn. The police too were in no mood to allow the rally to proceed.
It was late on Thursday night that All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) president Asaduddin Owaisi urged the youth to remain calm and underscored that no slogan that could hurt any community should be raised. He also pointed out that should any untoward incident happen, it affects the poor, who are seen in all communities, the most.
Mr Owaisi was not alone in urging calm. Earlier on Thursday, Jamiat-e-Ulama Telangana Andhra Pradesh’s general secretary Khaleeq Sabir issued requested Muslims to pray in mosques closer to their homes. This was an attempt to discourage youths from gathering in a single place.
“When the police and government’s intentions are clear that it intends to act without delay, that becomes the deciding factor,” Mr Sabir told The Hindu on Friday, even as he underscored that revered personalities or gods of any religion must not be disparaged. “We told the youth that the P D Act has been invoked against the MLA and action is being taken as per law. We took the course of law as well and 19 complaints in police stations were acted upon.”
While Hyderabad has always taken pride in its composite culture, there have been darker episodes in the city’s history that reflect strained relationships between communities.
For three consecutive years — 1990 to 1993 — curfew was clamped in several parts of Hyderabad owing to communal conflagration. Curfew was imposed from December 5, 1990, to January 20, 1991. The tension between communities during a procession resulted in violence and a curfew was imposed yet again in the last week of September 1991 in 20 police stations limits of Hyderabad.
The following year witnessed the demolition of the Babri Masjid which resulted in a curfew on December 7.
From 1998 to 2012, at least four instances of curfew being clamped were recorded on account of communal conflagration and violence. This includes police opening fire to quell mobs in 2003. The last two significant communal conflagrations were witnessed in 2010 when clashes erupted in connection with tying religious buntings and in 2012 when a place of worship was desecrated.
Police said that since 2012, especially after the formation of State of Telangana, no major communal tension was seen.