Communal clashes fuelled by rumours, attack on properties, mobs led by BJP leaders in Telangana’s Medak

An orthopedic hospital and a doctor's car were also attacked while an injured Muslim man was being treated.

ByDeepika Pasham

Published Jun 18, 2024 | 11:53 AM Updated Jun 18, 2024 | 7:24 PM

Communal clash between Hindus and Muslims in Telangana's Medak

The eerie calm gave an impression of something untoward happening at any moment. Police personnel, most of them young and stout, wore a bored look as they whiled away time on shop verandahs that till recently bustled with customers.

Telangana’s Medak town has lost its bustle, an idle quietness overcoming its normal hustle — the occasional passing whir of vehicles added to the uneasiness, eyes hidden away indoors following each movement.

Policemen in patrol vehicles moved around, slow and cautious, viewing the occasional passerby with suspicion. Some vehicles sped by, sirens blaring.

Little heaps of glass shards waited for more to come with the blackness of roads, at places, providing a contrasting background to dull glass pieces scattered around.

The tinted pieces merged with the blacktop, deceptive, unlike the warp and woof of the town’s social harmony that had been shredded apart.

Strewn glass pieces reflected the town’s latest development that shattered the communal harmony, the sense of camaraderie that till recently held society together, like a string holding beads of different hues together.

On Saturday, 15 June, the string was broken and the beads bounced off in different directions. Municipality workers have started picking up pieces, literally, sweeping aside the shattered glass pieces into heaps, which they will later discard.

Beneath the palpable eeriness lies suspicion. People once exchanged namaste, meeru ela uanaru? (Hello, how are you?) with a smile, are now wary of each other. Medak has lost its glean in a single rush of blood that clouded reason, logic, and compassion.

That single stroke stole Medak’s glean, leaving the borough looking like a ghost town.

Related: BJP leader among nine arrested for Medak communal clash

All over cattle

Medak was in a festive mood as Muslims celebrated Bakrid on Saturday. It did not last long.

Medak communal clash

A person injured in the clash at the hospital. (X)

A rumour that started as a whisper soon spread across the town, saying Muslims were transporting cattle to be slaughtered in a mosque.

Hindus gathered in strength and decided to investigate. They marched to the Minhaj ul Uloom Madrasa to question the alleged act.

Several of them were armed with sticks. Many picked up stones on the way. An argument broke out at the mosque when Muslims were equally enraged over the other group questioning them over something they kept denying.

The madrasa officials claimed the cattle were brought for rearing. However, the right-wing group stuck to its argument.

The argument escalated, and violence gripped Medak by afternoon, which went on late into the night till the police restored the law and order situation.

Several people were then injured, and properties, mostly belonging to Muslims, were damaged.

Also Read: Communal electioneering subverts the ideal of fraternity

Prohibitory orders declared

Ramdas Chowrasta and the surrounding areas were under prohibitory orders promulgated under Section 144 of the CrPC when South First visited Medak on Monday, 17 June.

Most shops and commercial establishments remained closed. A few of them started functioning from 2 pm. Public transport, barring a few buses, kept off the roads.

A family was waiting for a bus to Hyderabad at the bus station. They had come to Medak to visit a family member.

“We’ve been waiting for an hour. We are told that there won’t be any buses today. We will return to our grandmother’s place here after some time,” one of them said.

They seemed more concerned about the bus that never arrived rather than its reason. “There was a clash between Hindus and Muslims,” they said as if it was expected.

Also Read: Telangana CM says India should emulate Kerala in keeping communal forces away

Festivities fall silent

But corn vendor Wahid, 40, was very worried over the clash. “I have been selling corn in Medak for the past 30 years. I’ve always greeted RSS and BJP people with a namaste, and they did the same,” he told this correspondent.

“I have no idea about the trigger for this hatred. It was frightening, and we, the street vendors, rushed home. Bakrid was a silent day,” he said.

Wahid did not speak about how communal tensions could turn a festival, normally celebrated with pomp and visits to relatives and friends, turned into a “silent day”.

“No religion teaches to disrespect others. We should all live with respect towards each other. The streets were stained with the blood of a few injured,” he further said.

“We stayed at home on Sunday, and now, on Monday afternoon, we are coming out, still fearful of the police. We should live and let everyone live in peace,” his words reflected the common man’s hope.

Also Read: How a teacher explaining a poem led to communal protests at a Mangaluru school

Police reassure residents

The police were patrolling the streets and speaking with residents whose properties were damaged. They provided FIR copies to those who had complained and encouraged others to file their complaints.

Sridhar was standing in front of the damaged pan shop where he worked. Despite him being a Hindu, the shop was targeted since it belonged to a Muslim.

“We heard about the violence in the afternoon. By 6 pm, we saw youngsters and local BJP leaders running around with sticks and stones,” he said.

“They damaged a gym owned by our Muslim neighbor and our pan shop, as our owner is a Muslim. The police approached us, and we decided to file a report after Bakrid. We have been running this pan shop for 10 years and had never closed it due to such clashes,” he recalled.

Also Read: Communal tensions on Ram Temple consecration day in Telangana

Hospital targeted

An orthopedic hospital and a doctor’s car were also attacked with stones. He was targeted because an injured Muslim was being treated in the hospital.

The Orthopedic and General Hospital hit with stones

The Orthopedic and General Hospital that was targeted. (Deepika Pasham/ South First)

Naseer Mohammad, who works at the hospital was also attacked. “We knew about the clash and heard noises outside the hospital between 6 to 7 pm. I noticed a car being hit by BJP supporters and went to check if it was my brother’s car. It wasn’t, and I returned to the hospital,” he recalled the incidents.

“When I returned, an old man — bleeding from his head — ran in for help. We immediately treated him, and by the time I came out, there were 150 to 200 people pelting stones, chanting ‘Jai Shree Ram’,” he claimed.

“They damaged our property. Our receptionist tried to defend us and is now booked by the police. A helper was hurt and is hospitalised. The saddest part is that many of the youth involved in the violence didn’t even know what the clash was about,” he said.

“At an age when they should be pursuing their careers, they were participating in clashes. We, along with our seniors, recalled that the last time we saw communal violence of this magnitude was in 1992,” he added.

A BJP supporter and stationery shop owner, Karthik, found fault with both Hindus and Muslims.

“There was an allegation of cattle slaughter by Gau Rakshaks and Muslims should have immediately showed them what has been happening. But they also indulged in arguments, leading to the clash,” he added.

CCTV footage proves insturumental

Meanwhile, Medak Police told South First that footages from CCTV cameras were instrumental in arresting the suspects involved in the violence.

On Saturday, over 14 BJP leaders and Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha (BJYM) supporters were arrested and early on Sunday, nine Muslims were detained.

Presently, over thirty people are in remand, including people who do not have links to any political parties but were involved in the violence with stones and sticks.

Initially, two FIRs were registered, one from each religious community.

Later, more people came forward to file complaints about property damage, resulting in a total of over nine FIRs. All arrested individuals are being produced in court.

Son of arrested BJP Medak District President Gaddam Srinivas, Satwik, speaking to South First said, “My father is still under remand and the case has been put up for hearing in Medak court at 3 pm on Tuesday. Team of BJP MP Raghunandan Rao has taken up the case.”

“On Saturday, BJYM president Sathish led the people to rescue the cattle. He along with others visited the Madrasa to question the illegal cattle slaughter. During that argument a Muslim attacked a BJYM woker with a knife. The victim is still at a private hositpal in Miyapur in Hyderabad,” Satwik claimed.

“This behaviour and the attack led to the damaging of the properties of Muslims in Hyderabad,” he further claimed.

(Edited by Neena)

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