Two Narratives One Country
Wednesday April 11, 2012 11:48:23 PM,
Syed Ali Mujtaba
There are two narratives of
interfaith relation both quite in contrast to each other, but
speaks volumes how interfaith relations are progressing in India.
The first one is the recent communal disturbances that has taken
place in Hyderabad and well reported in the media.
The second one is from a small district of Bihar and the incidents
there were never reported and as such deserves a mention
especially when the developments in Hyderabad is raising the
question whether the interfaith relationship is improving or
deteriorating in our country.
Let’s start with Hyderabad, where some anti- social elements have
unleashed a trail of events to create communal hatred among in
otherwise peace loving communities, once ruled by Muslim rulers.
Trouble broke out in the old city of Hyderabad when Bajrang Dal
activists took out rally targeting Muslim houses alleging that
beef was thrown by them in Hanuman Mandir in the Kurmaguda
There were reports that this mischief was in retaliation to the
incidents in Sangareddy district, where some Muslims were targeted
The Hindu group was charged up after the beef incident, and
allegedly threw pig flesh inside some mosques and hurled wine
bottles as well.
All this happened around Hanuman Jayanthi, when most often
Hyderabad gets communally charged and its only extra precautionary
measure that keep the communal boil in check.
It seems that tension was building up from some time in Hyderabad
and both sides failed to settle the issue peacefully.
The most surprising thing was the non responsive attitude of the
police. In spite the fact that the tension was building up for
some time and their timely action could have controlled the
situation, they allowed the violence to spread.
In this case the state intelligence departments totally failed to
inform government of the coming trouble and the police forces
looked the other way when the anti-social elements were fomenting
There are many questions that the security agencies have to
answer. Why the beef when thrown in the Temple of Kurmaguda was
not removed immediately and culprits arrested?
Why the Bajrang Dal was allowed to take out a protest rally in the
first place. Why the police did not fire a single round of fire to
protect the Muslims when their properties were being damaged..
Here one may like to question the values of the security agencies.
What kind of lessons and training they have received when the
joined the forces. Instead of stopping communal incident to take
ugly turn, they seem to be a party to such act. It’s a foregone
conclusion that if they their job in all its fairness such
incidents could never have happened.
Does it mean that it was because of communal and corrupt police
officers that are posted under political pressure that we see
communal disturbances are taking place in old Hyderabad city or
there is more to it?
Maybe some sociological studies needs to done on this subject
analyzing the cause of communal disturbance happening frequently.
Some one needs to find out the reasons and suggests remedies of
prevent such disturbances erupting again.
The study should also encompass the role of police in controlling
such clashes. Such studies are more essential because there seems
to be a conspiracy of silence and no is raising the flag of inter
faith relationship and trying to stop such madness.
However, every thing is not lost as there are some bright spots in
the country too. Thanks to the upright police officers who have
demonstrated how to control the situation in the most adverse
Here I may like to cite two incidents that actually happened in
Shiekhpura district of Bihar, in both cases attempts to breach
communal harmony was nipped in the bud by prompt action taken by
the state police.
In one of the villages of the district, a pond endowed to the
mosque exists where fishery activity is done for the up keep of
the place of worship but that was disputed.
Some misguided Hindu youth lay claim on the pond taking advantage
of thin Muslim population in the village. There was a tension
brewing up for long time over this issue as the Hindu group wanted
net the fish for personal gain.
One day when in a pre planned manner a big Hindu mob swooped on
the pond to loot the fishes, the matter was reported to the
police, and in no time it retaliated to break the mob furry,
beating the boisterous crowd black and blue to the extent of
chasing the hoodlums in the fields when they ran for cover and
taking them in custody.
In no time the situation was brought under control, there was a
police barricade was set up on the pond and Muslims were given
police protection and access to do the fishery for the upkeep of
the mosque. In course of time communal tension evaporated and the
situation became peaceful.
The second incident is also from the same district when Hindu
group over night tried to place an idol on the centre of the
round-about that’s on the way to many Muslim villages and created
a make shift temple.
Muslims, of the area were upset by such provocative gesture but
they kept calm and reported the matter to the district
Again in this case police retaliated very firmly and rounded up
the crowd that was reportedly worshiping at the make shift temple.
They even uprooted the idol placed there and buried it in the
field. Cases were booked against those who were orchestrating
communal tension. A police barricade was placed and law and order
is restored in no time.
If we compare the Hyderabad narrative with that of Bihar, some
signs are obvious. While it was sheer carelessness on the part of
the security agencies in Hyderabad that allowed the matter to
precipitate and deteriorate, the incidents of Bihar suggests that
the prompt action by the police were deterrent for the law
breakers and they can never dare to take the law into their hands,
at least in their life time.
If we compare the Hyderabad and Bihar narratives then the question
that is being asked whether Muslims are safe under the Congress
rule or in non Congress rule.
The track record of Congress since independence suggests that it
wants en cash the Muslim votes living in perpetual fear. The
recent handling of the communal disturbances in Hyderabad is the
case in point as the state is ruled under Congress and the police
chief is a Muslim.
However, if we go by the conduct of the non congress government of
Bihar that is ruled in alliance with the BJP, then it’s obvious
that this government is giving the Muslims some hope to live with
dignity and security.
Notwithstanding the facts, he contrasting narratives are perfect
examples how interfaith relations are panning up in India.
Syed Ali Mujtaba is a journalist based in Chennai. He can be
contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org
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