The Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) took up road widening in many parts of the city and demolished properties after legally acquiring them. However, it is only when a property belonging to a Muslim was demolished all hell broke loose. Fake narrative over the antiquity of the structure was created to suit the politics of appeasement. City’s infrastructure suffered while ‘Muslim mobocracy’ won
A Muslim mob holding a city to ransom over an issue is not new in India. Neither are the incidents where Muslims have refused to budge in the interest of the city’s infrastructure or the common well-being. Whether it was Delhi in 2018 or Bengaluru in the ’90s or Mumbai in 2012, the mobocracy of the so-called minority has always put the administration in knots and consequently the city suffers. This seems to be repeating in Hyderabad now.
Illegal Mosque on Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation land
Abandoned property becomes a ‘400-yr old Mosque’!
Based on the High Court order, the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) recently took up road widening in many parts of the city of Hyderabad. As part of this project to boost the city’s road infrastructure, several properties had to be demolished for which due compensation had to be paid to the owners. Consequently, a private property belonging to one Mr. Maqbool in Amberpet had also to be demolished. The GHMC acquired the property after the necessary compensation was paid to the Muslim owner a couple of days ago. A small chicken shop was running on this private property which also had a small ‘Ghori’ (mausoleum). However, an illegal dargah was constructed here but was not in use for many years.
Muslims performing Namaz at the illelgal structure
However, when the GHMC resorted to legally raise the property which was duly purchased and compensated, Muslim groups created a ruckus and protested claiming that a ‘400-year old’ mosque had been brought down. First-hand accounts of the episode say that after the property was demolished, some passers who noticed the debris opined that ‘it looked like a mosque’. This opinion spread like wildfire and reached the ears of few community leaders and MIM leaders who jumped into fray claiming that they won’t tolerate the demolition of a mosque which was ‘centuries’ old. Interestingly, when the grapevine over the demolition of an old mosque started, it was claimed that it was ‘200-yr old mosque’. As soon as the political leaders of the MIM entered the scene, it became a ‘400-year old mosque’!
Policemen guarding the illegal Masjid
The TRS government instead of investigating into claims and supporting the legal move of the GHMC, succumbed to the mobocracy of the Muslim groups and promised reconstruction of the masjid. The Masjid, which itself was illegal and not in use became a property of Waqf overnight. There were no boards of any Muslim organisation or the Waqf Board earlier but after the episode and the government relenting to pressure from the Muslim groups, the Waqf Board seized the opportunity and put up a board indicating that it was their property.
MLA Raja Singh manhandled by Police
The Director of Town Planning K Srinivas Rao, in a statement to the media, categorically said the acquired land was a ‘patta’ land for which the owner had been paying property tax since 1955! He further informed that the land was acquired only after due process of law and compensation was duly paid to the owner debunking the claims of the land being a Waqf property.
When a Commissioner is targeted for daring to report the construction of illegal mosques based on the complaints of affected citizens, one cannot expect the same govt’s attitude to be any different in this issue Protest against Illegal Occupation
On May 5, concerned citizens protested against this illegal occupation. Many allege that the illegal occupation had the support of the police as they were giving protection to the property instead of standing by the GHMC and aiding it in road widening. As the protests grew, Muslim mobs indulged in violence against the protestors while the police handled the mob with kid gloves. This has surprised many as the decision for road widening was taken by the government itself. The protestors retaliated in self-defence. The Muslim mob which then resorted to stone-pelting caused grievous injuries to nearly 10 people and 4 policemen.
BJP organising secretary M. Srinivas
The MIM leaders who were alleged to have instigated Muslims in the area jumped into the fray. In a bizarre coverage of the incident, the local media showcased the issue as a conflict between two groups when in fact it was the defiance of Muslim groups to the government’s action to improve city’s infrastructure. It must also be noted that last year too, Amberpet was in the news when Muslim groups ran a campaign called “Justice for Asifa ” in the locality and were given ample police protection for their protests. But when Hindu groups ran a campaign for “Justice for Geeta”, they were rundown and ordered to disperse by the same police.
The biased approach of the police lies in the fact that MIM of Owaisi continues to be in alliance with the ruling TRS Party and is said to have a complete stranglehold on the city of Hyderabad and the government of KCR.
BJP leaders arrested; MIM leaders pandered!
On 6th May, BJP MLA Raja Singh and several other leaders of the party tried to visit the site and take stock of the situation. While the police did not stop the MIM leaders from using the land to instigate Muslim mob, the same police did not allow the BJP delegation to even visit the site. As the BJP leaders were manhandled, treated badly and later arrested, the MIM MLAs who started the trouble were allowed to go scot-free by the police.
BJP Telangana Organising Secretary Shri Manthri Srinivas who was part of the MLA Raja Singh led a delegation to inspect the spot, spoke to Organiser and provided firsthand account of the entire episode. “The flyover was being constructed and the road was being widened for the purpose. As with all other private properties, the land in question was also purchased by the GHMC by paying the mandated amount. It was private property and nothing more.”
He further told that the MIM legislators and workers who were determined to make the best of the emerging situation gave a twist to the episode and created the 400-year old mosque story. “MIM created this fake narrative that too only during the last 3 days. It was after raking up the fake story of the antiquity of the place MIM congregated a large number of Muslims and performed namaz on the road. This was done to provoke and intimidate people and the administration,” says Srinivas.
Narrating the lackadaisical and partisan approach of the Hyderabad Police, Srinivas tells, “The Police were mute spectators. Even when the Muslim mob indulged in stone pelting, police handled them with kid gloves. But when BJP delegation comprising of many leaders and MLA Raja Singh came to the spot, the Police Commissioner who was present there behaved very badly with us. Further, when we persisted to visit the spot and inspect where the Muslims were allowed to perform namaz, our karyakartas were lathi-charged and arrested”, tells Srinivas narrating the highhandedness and the biased approach of the police.
There are allegations that the Muslims have a tacit approval of the state’s Home Minister Mohammad Mahmood Ali to indulge in such show of strength. “The Home Minister is a Muslim and therein lies the answer for the support and strength the Muslim mobs are getting. But we are also united and it was because of our huge protest that the state government had to relent and release our Karyakartas after few hours,” says Srinivas. When asked about the future course of action of the BJP on the issue, Srinivas says that they are exploring all angles including legal. “It is a public and civic issue and nothing to do with religion. We will make the entire city aware of these developments. As required, we will also take the legal route to find a solution to the issue,” he says.
On May 7, a delegation of BJP leaders submitted a memorandum to Sri Mahendhar Reddy, DGP of Telangana, on attempts of illegal construction in Amberpet and highhandedness of police on BJP MLA Sri Raja Singh. State BJP president Dr Laxman, Union Minister and MP Bandaru Dattatreya, MLA Kishan Reddy and other prominent leaders of the party were present while submitting the memorandum.
Questions for Government, Administration and Police
- Even if we assume that the land belongs to the mosque and not to Maqbool, how can the MIM party give itself the right to ‘reclaim’ the land and start the reconstruction of the ‘mosque’?
- Are MIM or the Muslim community at large need not follow due process of law while they have to reclaim a property? Or are they above any law of the State and Country?
- What are the state government and its entire law enforcement machinery doing all the while when a legally acquired property of the state is so brazenly being encroached upon?
- Why is it that one political party is allowed to claim ownership of the events while another political party is not even allowed to inspect the spot?
- Will the government allow the city’s infrastructure to suffer while the so-called minorities are appeased at the cost of following due process of law?
- What would be the government's response had this been a property which had a Hindu temple and Hindus had protested against any takeover or demolition?
- The Director of Town Planning has categorically stated that this was a ‘patta’ land for which property tax was being paid since 1955. Will you now deny the legality of the GHMC’s actions and how?
The attitude of the TRS government of Telangana ever since it took over the reins of the state will provide ready answers to some of these questions. This is a government which a few years ago had ordered the then Commissioner of Police to apologise to the ‘Minority Community’ for reporting the construction of ‘illegal mosques’ in the city. When most complain of unscrupulous government officials, those who are upright and work diligently are thus targeted and their morale broke for the sake of politics of appeasement.
Now, when a Commissioner is targeted for daring to report the construction of illegal mosques based on the complaints of affected citizens, one cannot expect the same government’s attitude to be any different in this issue. What we can hope is that the concerned citizens of the city and state stand as one and counter the mobocracy of the so-called ‘persecuted minority’ with legal action and judicious choice of leaders in the elections to come.
(With inputs from VSK Telangana)