ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Witches' Brew in Hyderabad

The Sangh Parivar is assiduously working towards a major communal conflagration in Hyderabad.

Hyderabad is the only metropolitan city in India where two out of five citizens are Muslims and the Member of Parliament elected since 1984 has been from an avowedly Muslim party, the Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (MIM). It is a city where the Muslims are not just numerically strong but are also culturally and politically assertive. While Hyderabad has had a long history of Hindu-Muslim violence, what has been unique about the city is that the Muslim community has organised itself around the MIM. This has resulted in the violence and aggressive identity politics of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) and its affiliates being matched by a similar politics by the MIM. The last major incident of communal violence in Hyderabad was in 1990 in the aftermath of L K Advani’s Rath Yatra, where a gruesome “scoreboard” was kept and the number of Muslims and Hindus killed was equalled as the MIM cadre matched the muscle power and bloodlust of the RSS.

A combination of strong action by the governments in power (mainly of the Telugu Desam Party) and the matching of the muscle power of the Sangh Parivar and the MIM, along with the large-scale transformation of Hyderabad’s economic and social networks in the last two decades has resulted in a period of relative communal calm. The MIM strategy seems to be to use its power, both on the street as well as in the legislature, to provide protection to the Muslim community to pursue their lives and livelihoods. The RSS and its affiliates, mainly the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), have tried to consolidate the Hindu community behind it to match the MIM while trying to weaken its political base. They have largely been unsuccessful in this. Till now.

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