While the events at riot- ridden Bhainsa, Telangana, we came across Mr. Siddhu who is a journalist from Hyderabad currently working for the digital news portal Channel 369, he has worked for MAHAA News for 8 years as a Page3 journalist, he was also associated with Manam- a telugu newspaper for a year and has worked for other digital news channels
As is evident, communal tension at Bhainsa is not unknown to the local populace. Earlier, back in January 2020 similar riots between the Hindus and Muslims of Bhainsa erupted; Mr. Siddhu had prepared a colossal ground report covering the same and highlighted the plight of the victims of Bhainsa.
Similar to the present times, media coverage of the riots in 2020 was clamped down too but Mr. Siddhu managed to reach the area concerned and had to fight the government and its vendetta politics. To understand Bhainsa’s circumstances better, we asked a few questions to him in an extensive telephonic conversation.
Here are the questions and the valuable insight into the events which transpired at Bhainsa in January 2020 and then recently on the 7th March.
When asked about the incidents which happened in January 2020 and his experience on ground while preparing the ground report, Mr. Siddhu said, “The violence was unleashed on the 12th of January 2020 and had taken a horrific turn by the midnight. The area affected was Korbha galli. This lies on the Maharashtra- Telangana border. That day, there was a program called ‘Istema’ organized by the Islamic community. There were around 50, 000 people gathered who were rallying around and slogans like ‘Pakistan zindabad’ were raised while opposing the CAA and NRC. At around 8 PM, due to the loud noises emanating out of the rally, one Hindu individual came out and confronted the group asking them not to make noises. Soon, this turned into a heated argument and the Hindu boy was slapped; as this was a Hindu area, the boy slapped the Muslim individual back without any fear and a Muslim mob quickly reached the spot from the Muslim area nearby. Within a span of 1 hour, the Muslims started hurling petrol bombs at the houses of the Hindus and throwing stones at the Hindus.”
He continued, “The Muslims constantly raised slogans of Pakistan zindabad and abused Hindu Gods and Goddesses and even urinated on a Ganesha idol. Hindu women were touched inappropriately, and their jewelry was snatched away; the Muslims went further to urinate on the food dishes being prepared by the women as it was Makar Sankranti. They even wanted to kill kids by setting fire on their person. Even the fire brigade was obstructed while controlling the fire.”
Talking about the political scenario he mentioned, “This was the first Hindu- Muslim riot which occurred after the formation of Telangana and therefore, the government didn’t want people to know about it and the media was gagged. No media person could cover the story. I went to Bhainsa along with other members of the Telangana Journalists Association under these circumstances.”
Next, we asked him about the actions of the government against his reportage and he stated, “I went to Bhainsa and covered the story; Hindus did not have houses to live in, their essentials were burned down, and I uploaded videos from the ground on the internet. That’s when I received calls from the IT- Cell of K. Chandra Shekhar Rao’s government who asked me to delete the videos and accused me of peddling falsities! I had made myself clear; I didn’t delete the videos as they were the unquestionable truth. The videos went viral and spread like wild- fire. 2 days later, 2 FIRs were registered against me by the Bhainsa police on the behest of the state government. 1 of the sections imposed was 153A. 3 police teams from Bhainsa, Nirmal and Khanapur had landed at Bhainsa to arrest me. Earlier, the police personnel called me asking to delete the videos if I didn’t want to get arrested, but I didn’t give in and I had to go underground. Later, I was helped by the local BJP leaders to evade the police and their illegal actions and I was assisted to reach Delhi. Afterwards, I was helped by Advocate KaranSagar Kashim Shetty to fight my case in the Telangana High Court. Meanwhile, the government continued to pussy foot the issue of the Bhainsa riots and didn’t even reach out to help the victims. It was the local RSS body which helped the victims re- build their homes.”
Finally, we asked him about the riots on the 7th March, 2021 and the current political scenario he replied, “This year too, the Istema was underway. The areas affected were Zulfikar and Bhatti gallis. Similar to 2020, the media is not allowed to cover the riots and the plight of the Hindu victims who face the brunt is unknown. This is not the first time when the AIMIM has espoused the rioters, Jabir Ahmed, the AIMIM Councilor has 19 cases registered against him but no legal action has been taken till now. He is closely linked to the Owaisi brothers. Ahmed is into illegal land occupation and the BJP leaders try to combat AIMIM and expose Ahmed.”
Mr. Siddhu revealed, “Earlier, an NIA team had visited Bhainsa and arrested 4-5 terrorists. Many leading ISI terrorists and sleeper cells were provided shelter by the Muslims and AIMIM leaders at Bhainsa. The mosque at Bhainsa is a shelter to such anti- social elements. Each time a Hindu procession passes by the mosque, Muslims start pelting stones at the Hindu devotees. For instance, a Hindu was once taken inside the mosque and was hacked into pieces and this resulted in a riot, this was back in 2008.”
Talking about the daily life of the Hindus at Bhainsa and their ordeal he stated, “Day to day life for the Hindus here is extremely difficult and they continue to live with a constant fear of losing their lives. Bhainsa is another Jammu and Kashmir; Muslim population is rapidly increasing and whosoever raises their voice for the Hindus, they are persecuted. On March 7th, 3 journalists were attacked by sword- yielding Muslims and are gravely injured; they are admitted in a hospital at Hyderabad. One of those journalists who worked for the Telugu channel Raj News is battling death in the ICU as his stomach was ripped apart and nobody made a whimper because the TRS will then go hammer and tongs after them. The media is a mere puppet in the hands of the state government. They work according to their political masters’ whims and fancies. Full- fledged attempts are being made to conceal the news.”
Commenting on Bhainsa he revealed, “Bhainsa is a horribly sensitive area. The Muslims have complete support of the local AIMIM leaders and the TRS government. A petty tussle between the Hindus and Muslims in any of the areas nearby leads to the imposition of section 144 at Bhainsa. The police personnel are politically pressurized too. The aim of the Muslims backed by the AIMIM at Bhainsa is to pave way for a Hindu exodus like that of the Kashmiri Hindus. Jabir Ahmed has made many Muslims shift from Maharashtra to Bhainsa to augment the AIMIM vote bank. It is made sure that the AIMIM remains in power. Bhainsa was smartly divided into areas in a manner which makes sure that Muslim votes are always more than the votes of the Hindus; this is how AIMIM wins at the local level. The ultimate power lies with the AIMIM.”
He also revealed, “Whenever the Muslims attack the Hindus, the Hindu Vahini which is a hardcore nationalistic group, fights the Muslim radicals. And as per the orders of the AIMIM and TRS governments, the police personnel arrest and implicate the youth associated with Hindu Vahini and the Muslim culprits roam scot free. 14- 15 FIRs are registered against Hindu Vahini volunteers every time they raise their voices against the Muslim miscreants. The police personnel have also threatened the Hindu volunteers of encountering them. 3rd degree torture was inflicted upon the Hindu workers who were arrested and were slapped with false cases. The most important inference is that the Hindus are constantly scared and live a life full of pitfalls.”
DISCLAIMER: This article is extracted from our discussion with Journalist Mr. Siddhu and reflects his view point. Goa Chronicle may or may not subscribe to views of people we interview.