India

Fact Finding Report On Sangareddy Communal Violence

A fact finding team of Civil Liberties Monitoring Committee consisting of Prof. Rehana Sultana, Lateef Mohammed Khan, Kaneez Fathima, M.Mandakini, S.Q.Masood, Md. Ismail Khan visited Sangareddy, the headquarter of Medak district of Andhra Pradesh, where communal violence erupted on the night of 29th March 2012. The team visited the affected area and spoke to the victims whose business establishments were totally destroyed by the miscreants.

 

Introduction

On the night of 29th March 2012, communal violence erupted in the Sangareddy town when Muslims were protesting in front of police station against the posting of insulting and objectionable image of Kaaba, the holy place of Muslims, with a demand to take action against the culprit. But local police did not take any serious measure and asked them to leave the place. By hearing the protest of Muslims, the activists of RSS gang gathered and started arson and looting of Muslim business establishments. Police became mute spectators and neither they prevented the mob nor allowed Muslims to protect their properties repeating the Gujarat episode. Hundreds of families have been affected due this devastation and almost two crores worth of property was destroyed. Curfew was imposed to control the situation and still night curfew is being continued. Muslims have a kind of fear among them due to this targeted violence and they think that Gujarat kind of violence has been experimented on them. A reason for such kind of thinking among them is also because a Muslim candidate has been defeated at Mahboobnagar by-elections by using a communal and Reddy card and the same situation has been repeated at Sangareddy, which is a serious concern of Muslim community.

The area which the team visited is Masjid e Nomania and Madarsa, New Grand Hotel, bakery and pan shop, Asian pan shop, Milan sweet house and opticals, S.A. Electricals, Siraj pan shop, Tajammul pan shop, Khaja pan shop, Mushtaq pan shop, Ehtesham pan shop, Labbaik hotel, Shalimar flower shop, Rose bakery, Modern bakery, Rahmat garment, A 1 sweet house, Maruti foot wear, Sattar Xerox and milk centre, S.R. Mobiles, Royal watch, small vendors like cutlery shops, sugar cane juice carts, tea carts, flower carts, cycle taxi, rexine works, chicken shop, welding shop, garment carts etc.

Going back to history, Sangareddy is named after ‘Sanga’ the son of Rani Shankaramba, ruler of Medak during the period of Nizam. It is also known as the Industrial capital of Andhra Pradesh. It is just 55 kms far from Hyderabad city with a population of more than 150, 000. Muslims comprise 35% of the urban population, they depend largely on small business establishments such as bakery, hotels, pan shops, garments, fruit juice, auto and lorry transport.

The team felt that each and every person whose business establishments have been destroyed are eagerly waiting to express their pain and expecting that some one would understand their grief and sorrow. As soon as the team arrived there, the proprietor of Labbaik hotel Mr. Ateequr Rahman came forward and invited us to come to his hotel. Then he narrated the incident of 29th March that a mob of 20-25 people with petrol, iron rods etc looted two pan shops, broke them and threw on road, then set them on fire. Then they tried to lift the shutter of his hotel and also tried to burn, but at the same time, his neighbour Murlidhar came there by hearing the noise, then he asked them to leave the place because his cloth showroom is exactly besides the hotel. So the miscreants left it. Even then, some furniture was burnt and he suffered loss of 1.5 lakhs. Mr. Ateeq said that in his 40 years of life, he has never seen such violence at Sangareddy. This hotel is exactly opposite to the MLAs house. At present he is so devastated by the attack that he wants to leave his native place.

The team also visited the neighbor shop S.M brothers whose proprietor is Muralidhar. He said that when he came he could not see anybody as the place was filled with tear gas smoke. Everyone is scared because of uncertainty of the situation.

Adjacent to post office compound wall, ten to fifteen shops of small vendors suffered loss of 40 to 50 thousand rupees each. Among them one person named Shaik Gudu said that police arrived and stood as mute spectators, they did not take any steps to save the burning shops of Muslims. Petrol bombs were used largely to burn the shops. He wondered, how can a headquarter of a district does not have reserved police. Another person among them said that leaders from every political party were involved.

Tajuddin of Shalimar flower shop who incurred a loss of 1.5 lakh and Ahmedullah Khan of Rose bakery who incurred a loss of 5 Lakhs said that the mob broke the shutter of the shops, and threw the petrol bombs inside, ignited the fire then shut down the shutters. Due to this the complete material and furniture in the shops was burnt including the ceiling, and even the blades of the fan were melt. They said that it is a targeted violence and the preparations were done some 15 days earlier itself. They said that some 10 people were employed in each shop, thus they lost their livelihood, now who will feed their families, since eight days they are without any work and no one is thinking over it.

Majid of Modern bakery said that a mob of 20-25 people came with the petrol cans, looted the shop, threw petrol and burnt the shop, where he incurred a loss of 8 Lakhs. According to him this was the oldest bakery of the area. Mukhtar, owner of Pan Shop said he incurred a loss of 1 Lakh, Md. Ismail, Md.Arif and Salahuddin owner of Autos said that their five seven seater autos were burnt. Flower shop, cutlery and tea stall owned by Yousuf, Syed Shujaat Ali and Syed Wajid Ali were destroyed. When the fact finding team asked them about the remaining of their stalls and auto they said a day before Chandrababu Naidu’s visit, all the remaining of the destroyed properties were taken away and those places were cleaned. Now we have only photos and FIRs.

The proprietor of AZ communications Mr. Aziz said that he was to start his dinner and he came to know that a mob is attacking his shop, until he reached there everything was burnt to ashes. He never thought that his livelihood will be snatched away in such manner. S R Communication owner A.Sattar’s shop was burnt completely and he incurred loss of 6 lakhs.

Owner of Asian Pan shop Md. Majid said that his pan shop was burnt completely which is attached to Vijayalakshmi sweet house. But this sweet house was not even touched by the mob. He says very confidently that local people are behind this attack and he can even identify them. Exactly beside this sweet house there is a shop named S.A Electricals which is a big shop. The owner of this shop Syed Jaffer with a broken heart said that a person in whose house I fixed the light and did electrical repairs number of times, the same person burnt my shop and destroyed my livelihood in such cruel manner and made my life dark. 20-25 persons were employed under him and those people have become unemployed. Even a square meal has become difficult for them. He incurred loss of 20-25 lakhs. He clearly mentioned the name of Somnath who attacked his shop. When the mob arrived to burn the pan shop and electrical shop, Majid pleaded with this particular person somnath not to burn the shop, and somnath said throw this person also in the shop and burn him.

The oldest and biggest hotel of Sangareddy is Grand Hotel, pan shop and Bakery. The owner Ishtiaqur Rahman said that their establishment was looted and the police officers watched it silently instead of protecting. The police beat one of his brothers and broke his leg. The same police officers always eat in this hotel and this hotel is open 24 hours on the request of police officers. They clearly mentioned the names of the people who attacked the hotel. The persons belonging to BJP, Somnath, Jagan, Shekar, Vasu, Nagraj, Seenu, Kittu, Chander, Sunny and others were identified by them. According to them this attack was pre planned. They also said political leaders are visiting but not doing anything practically.

The team visited Masjid e Nomania and Madarsa, Moulana Syed Fasiuddin and Suleman Siddiqui spoke to us. They said this Masjid is also known as Bus stand Masjid. Moulana Syed Fasiuddin while explaining in detail said that a person named Pawan Kumar Mudiraj posted some objectionable images on the wall of Facebook. This was shared by a number of people. when the Muslims came to know about this, they gathered at police station with a demand to take action against him. But, the CI not taking the matter seriously said I will look into the matter tomorrow. The group insisted immediate action and started giving slogans of Allahu Akbar. On the other side, a large mob belonging to RSS, Bajrang Dal, Hindu Vahini all relating to MLA starting attacking Muslim business establishments between 11.15pm to 3.15 am. They burnt the gate of Masjid, but they were unable to enter the Masjid as the gate was locked. They were successful in breaking the loud speakers and Minar. He also said that the mob would have burned the Masjid also but the petrol stock was over and the other reason is that there are big shops of Hindus in the ground floor of the Masjid and Masjid is situated on the first and second floors. He further said that if a single call would have been gone from MLA to take action, the destruction would not have gone to such extent. But the MLA intentionally did not intervene initially because of his RSS background. He stated that we can say Gujarat model has been practiced and in future, Gujarat may take place. He further stated that this conspiracy to target Muslim establishments was planned at Ram Mandir by Shekhar, Nagraj and Jagan.

Finally the team also visited the police station and met SP P.J.Victor, and two DSPs, G.Venkatesh and Laxminarsaiah. The team enquired about why there is so much ignorance and negligence from the police side. Then immediately SP replied that there is no negligence and we are working hard to control the situation and bring back normalcy. We have also taken action against two police officers who did not act properly on time. When asked about why the situation went to such extreme level when the police station is just exactly beside the shops burnt. On this he replied that there is no sufficient force and whoever was present tried to control the violence. They requested their senior officers at Hyderabad to send forces immediately but untill the forces from different nearby police stations arrived it was 3am. Now the enough force is available and the situation is under control. He expressed hope that tomorrows day will be passed peacefully because the local people are cooperating with the police personnel. When asked who is behind the conspiracy, he answered by saying that they first want to bring normalcy and then probe on this issue. Further on asking whether there is any political motif behind this violence, he said we are investigating on this angle as well by keeping in mind local political situation. He also said that a special cell is opened for registering complaints of communal violence and said that till now 109 complaints have been received and 97 FIRs have been issued. We also spoke to newly posted Inspector Mr. C.Harishchandra Reddy. He said that he is trying to build confidence among the victims and assuring them whatever help he can do to them in his own way. Fact finding team insisted that there should be no illegal detention, harassment with anyone, and action should be taken as per the law.

Findings

1.      Gujarat experiment has been practiced at low level.

2.      It is observed that communal forces such as RSS, VHP, Hindu Vahini and Bajrang Dal are strengthening themselves in the areas where there is communal harmony and making those areas communally polarized to achieve their Fascist agenda.

3.      This violence was targeted and pre planned.

4.      Internal politics of Congress party played a major role in creating violence by using communal forces for their political benefits.

5.      Business establishments of Muslim are being targeted to weaken them economically.

6.      Arson and looting at Sangareddy resembles Gujarat genocide.

7.      MLA Jaiprakash Reddy has failed in fulfilling his responsibility instead his role is suspicious in this violence.

8.      The role of police is questionable as well because it has failed to control the situation.

9.      Victims are the worst sufferers, they have lost their livelihood and still there is no relief measures from the government.

10. There is a fear among the Muslim community about their future and it is a wake up call to the government of Andhra Pradesh to act immediately to avoid another Gujarat in AP.

Demands

1.      Civil Liberties Monitoring Committee demands Judicial enquiry by a retired High Court Judge because there is suspicion that local MLA and his associates as well as Congress internal politics and conflicts are behind this violence.

2.      Present and pass Communal Targeted Violence Bill, 2011 in the Parliament and implement it immediately.

3.      Compensate the victims whose shops have been destroyed and livelihoods lost by keeping in view the sections mentioned in the above bill.

4.      Government should take firm action against the culprits and guilty police officers and punish them according to the rule of law.

5.      Stop the harassment of Muslim youth by the police and take the confidence building measures among the Muslim community.

6.      Keep vigil on the activities of RSS, VHP, Bajrang Dal and Hindu Vahini to stop further communalization of the society.

In short we can say that the Sangareddy is known for Manjeera water which is the sweetest and purest water available in Andhra Pradesh but at present it has turned sour and polluted due the communal hatred spread by Hindutva fascist forces. It is high time for the secular and democratic forces to prove whether they exist in the region of Telangana.


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