Once again Hyderabad is shaken under the bomb blasts. This is not the first blast in the history of Hyderabad. Before this many bomb blasts have taken place at public places in Hyderabad. 18 May 2007 and 25 August 2007 bomb blasts are needed to be mentioned. It is also fact that in the name of bomb blasts Muslims were continuously targeted. Due to the struggle of Civil Liberties Monitoring Committee, Muslim youth were acquitted by the courts and the government also paid compensation to them. Until now these Muslim youth were unable to stabilize themselves and the twin blasts took place at Dilsukhnagar area of Hyderabad. And this was more than terror for Muslims. Because, as usual Media played its role by labeling and targeting Muslims and the Muslim youth again became the target of the police. Everyone expected that the situation in Hyderabad must be bad because the Congress party and the condition of its government is worse and it is known from the history that whenever the Congress governments condition is worse and conflict between the fractions of the party occurs the peaceful atmosphere of Hyderabad is disturbed by making it worse, so that under it their political gains can be achieved. Simultaneously it was also felt that to sabotage the Telangana movement a big incident might take place and whatever may happen it will happen in Hyderabad itself; but a common person did not think that bomb blasts will take place once again and all of a sudden these many people will be killed. In order to understand the disrupt of the peaceful heart of Hyderabad Dil-Sukh (Dilsukhnagar), the facts such as the political conditions of Andhra Pradesh, the clashes in Congress party and Congress government, Telangana movement, Shinde’s statement on Hindu terrorism, the politics of BJP on Shinde statement, then the Parliament and Assembly sessions and the later facts should also be taken into consideration. In brief, the timings of the Dilsukhnagar bomb blasts of Hyderabad have an importance.
Keeping the above things in mind, the fact finding committee of Civil Liberties Committee, on different dates and time visited Dilsukhnagar bomb blast site, the nearby places and the various hospitals where the victims were admitted and spoke to different people, officials, victims to know the details of the bomb blasts.
The evening of 21st February was crowded at Dilsukhnagar. During this time, people come out of their offices, students on the road increase after the college and tutorials and coaching centers timings, families come out on evenings for shopping purposes because this area is famous for shopping malls. There are many business establishments in this area such as shopping Malls, electric and electronic shops, hardware shops, hotels, Tiffin centers, cinema halls, mobile shops, medical shops, colleges, coaching centers and many other small and big shops. Along with this there is a famous Saibaba Mandir, where blast had taken place earlier in the year 2001. This area and business is dominated by the Andhra region people.
As the evening was busy and jam packed suddenly twin blasts occurred between 6.50 to 7.10 pm with a gap of three minutes between two blasts at two places one in front of Konark theatre near Anand Tiffin centre and another before Venkatadri theatre beside the bus stop. There is a distance of about 100 meters between these two places. As per the peoples version these two bombs were placed on cycles. According to the eye witness, Mani Kumar, MCA student, L.B. Nagar, the blasts were so powerful that people were blown into the air up to 10 feet high and fell down. Most of them who died were professionals and students in the age group of 19-30 years of age. Immediately after the blasts people ran helter skelter, they were unable to understand as to what happened suddenly and people ran to save their lives. As per the information received, these bombs were made by using Improvised Explosive Device (IED) in which highly explosive material was used but these were not time bombs. The city was already under high alert due to Telangana movement and present political situation of Andhra Pradesh and immediately after the blasts, Red Alert was declared all over the city. At the place of incidents itself 15 people died on the spot and hundreds got injured. Police station is very near by to the places of incidents. Police personnel are always present in that area, so they were able to reach there immediately. The locals made calls for the ambulance and the injured were shifted to hospitals. The injured were shifted to various hospitals such as Yashoda, Omni, Care, Asra and Osmania hospitals. Those who were severely injured were shifted to Yashoda, whereas, the dead were shifted to Osmania hospital. Locals also informed that lot of problems took place to shift the injured to the hospitals, because the local police failed to control the public who had gathered at the spot.
The dead persons were identified as Eijaz, Polytechnic student Amberpet, Mohammed Rafeeq Hafiz Baba Nagar, Vijaykumar and Rajshekhar of Mancherial, A. Ramulu Warasiguda, Amanullah Khan Chanchalguda, Vijaykumar Adilabad, Sudhakar Rao Karimnagar, Ganga Triveni Karimnagar, Sonia U Reddy Kandigal Gate, S. Anand Kurnool, B. Lakshmi Saroor Nagar, M. Venkateshwar Malakpet, Chugaram Gaddiannaram, M. Shiva Ramannapet, Rajaiah Himayat Nagar, Swapna Reddy Uppuguda, P. Kulkarni Dilsukhnagar, K. Harish Engineering student Dilukhnagar, Raju, Anand, Venkatesh, Srinivas Reddy, Ramulu Jamia Osmania, Venkateshwar Rao Trupti and Shivani. All these dead bodies were shifted to Osmania Hospital Mortuary, the bodies were in a pool of blood and their clothes were torn the stretchers were not sufficient; all the bodies were dumped at one place. People present at the hospital were stunned by seeing the scene of dead bodies.
The severely injured were Sanna Reddy Karimnagar, Swati B.N.Reddy Nagar, Suri Chaitanya puri, Md. Jaweed Zahirabad, Vignesh L.B. Nagar, Monika Hyderabad, Md. Ajju Omer Hyderabad, Sunni Omer Hyderabad, Gopal Reddy, B.N. Reddy Nagar, Narsimha Reddy, Sudha Hyderabad, Rupa Dilsukhnagar, Abdul Wasey Mirza, Samad Omer, Shiva Kumar, Ram Murthy, Rajitha, Ram Kumar, Parasuram, Panduranga Reddy, Srinivas Rao, Mallikarjun, Azeemuddin Santoshnagar, P. Gangaram and his relatives Gangulamma, Ravinder, Archana, Anil, Lakshmi were shifted to Yashoda Hospital, Malakpet.
The conditions of the dead and severely injured
The feelings of the near relatives of the persons who died in the blasts cannot be expressed in mere words. In brief, they did not ever imagine that they would get such news about their near and dear ones and would see their dead bodies. One youth Mohammed Rafeeq who died in the bomb blast, was working in the leather shop. On the tragic day he started from home in the morning and did not return in the evening. His father got a call from his elder son asking them to reach Osmania Hospital immediately. The family members got worried and went to the hospital and found their son’s dead body in a pool of blood. The father of the deceased Mr. Ameeruddin said, ‘my son’s untimely death has ruined our lives’.
Sapna a resident of Chatrinaka, Hyderabad was also one of them who got killed in the blasts. She is the youngest among 4 children to her parents. She had lost her father some 15 years back and they belong to lower middle class family. After her fathers’ expiry her only brother managed the house and married off two sisters. Unable to see the difficulties faced by the brother in managing the house, she also decided to help him financially and joined as a receptionist at Islamia Engineering and Management Institute at Bandlaguda. She stayed at the college hostel itself. While working she also joined in MBA course at the same college thinking that if the qualifications are improved she can get a good job. On the tragic day she called her family and informed that she will be reaching home in about one hour after completing her project work. One hour passed but she did not reach home, but a call came from her college informing that Sapna has died in the blasts. The family did not know that the wait for their sister would be never ending. They went to the place of blast and to all the hospitals but did not find their sister. Finally they reached Osmania Hospital where her body was lying in Mortuary. Sapna’s mother who already had lost her husband went under deep shock with the death of her daughter and became a statue like person. Her brother said that, ‘after completing her studies, we thought she will get a better job and she will lead a happy life, but this tragedy took place…. we were waiting for her after her call, but we never thought that this waiting for her would turn into never ending wait for her’.
17 years Aijaz Ahmed, a polytechnic student of Sanjay Gandhi college resident of Amberpet lost his life in these blasts. According to his father, ‘these blasts have taken away my son a father only can understand the tragedy of loosing a son’. He also said that, ‘to perform the last rites of a young son is the most difficult part for a father’. There were a number of his fellow non-Muslim students present at his funeral. His teacher Mr. Muralidhar Gupta said that their college has lost a bright student.
Ravi Kumar 25 years of age, native of Karimnagar district and an aspirant to become police Sub-Inspector died at Yashoda Hospital after battling for life for 13 days. Due to blast he received severe multiple intestinal injuries and limb injuries. While in the hospital his kidneys also failed. He and his friend Tirupati went to have snacks, Tirupati died on the spot. Ravi’s brother, Amrutha Kumar said, ‘no financial help and no console can neither help us nor wipe our tears. We will miss him all our life’.
The mindset of Media and police has become in such a manner, that whenever any tragedy or incidence happens, they consider only Muslims are responsible for such acts. This mindset has reached to such an extent that if a Muslim is dead or injured in the blast the media and police start their investigation from that person itself. And they question him as to why he was present at the blast scene. And if at all a person gets injured twice in different blasts, then the media and police completely suspect him as how can he be present at the blast site two times. They look at him with suspect and never think of what is he going through mentally and physically. One of such case is of Abdul Wasif Mirza who is 25 years old and severely injured in Dilsukhnagar bomb blast. Earlier when the Makkah Masjid blast took place he was 19 years old and he was severely injured in that blast too. That time it took 2 years for him to recover completely due to severe injuries on leg and stomach because of which he also had to drop his college studies. Till now some pellets are still in his body from previous blast. On this ill fated day he went to Dilsukhnagar for business purpose along with his cousin who was selling clothes on foot path and incidentally he once again came under the attack of bomb blast and he suffered with severe injuries on his back and left lumbar. Then from the blast victim he was turned into prime suspect by police and media only because he is a Muslim. Within no time media and police started harassing him through investigation and interrogated him on his hospital bed whereas the doctors were saying that speaking to him is dangerous to his life. Police started collecting the past and old record of Abdul Wasif Mirza and also his record prior to 2007.
After surviving twice from the bomb blast what did he gain, he became the prime suspect and target of police and media. He became the starting point of investigation. This is called “Mind set-up” of police and media. Instead of expressing solidarity with this youth and his family who were under trauma they were forced to explain and defend themselves. His father with the folding hands appealed to the media to leave them alone, whatever the matter is the court will decide and we leave the matter on the court. With this one example we can say how prejudiced our “Civilized Media” is! The fate of a Muslim is such that he is seen only in the terms of terrorist even if he gets injured or dies. This is not the first time, we have witnessed the same when the Muslims injured and died in the Lumbini Park and Gokul Chat bomb blasts. This is the biggest tragedy for the Muslims even when they get injured; some of them did not even go to the hospital due to the fear of police harassment and media trial.
When the conditions were such in the Hyderabad, the central and state government were issuing controversial statements. Central Home Minister said that information had been passed to the Andhra Pradesh government about any untoward incident might take place, but DGP said that nothing particular was informed and Chief Minister Kiran Kumar said that receiving such information is routine for the state government.
Post Dilsukhnagar bomb blast conditions in Hyderabad
Due to the OB Vans of electronic media and persons from political parties especially the BJP who gathered largely, there was delay in shifting the victims and injured persons to the hospital. This way the police personnel failed to protect the scene of incident/offence. BJP workers gathered in large numbers and started giving anti-Muslim slogans. Local businessmen said to the fact finding team that they were unable to understand why anti-Muslim slogans were raised, as there were bodies of Muslims also lying on the scene and were not shifted. The scene of offence was also disturbed badly due to this gathering. Till the investigating agencies reached at the scene, according to the sources, almost most of the evidence was destroyed. The investigating agencies were unable to carry their work due to heavy presence of media personnel and the huge rush of politicians; and they expressed anguish that due to the presence of the above they were unable to carry their work and hence the vital clues and evidence was damaged badly by the huge presence of mob. Later all the investigating agencies reached at the spot including IB, SB, Counter Intelligence, Task Force, NIA and even National Security Guard officials, though NSG is not investigating agency but a special group to fight against terrorists and it was sent to the spot where bomb blast had taken place. It is a matter of deep thought as to why the NSG was sent, is it to create high sensitivity at the national level?
Everything was alright and normal in Hyderabad before the blasts took place. But immediately after the blasts, situation changed completely. City came under red alert immediately. Concentration of police on Masjids and Muslim populated areas increased as if they have information that people belonging to these areas are behind the blasts. Muslim youth once again became the target of the investigating agencies. Because of media’s anti Muslim attitude they were giving the Muslim names as blast accused by giving the reference of police sources. A fear complex developed in Muslim community because of the past experiences of targeting innocents and also because the non-Muslim communities were looking at Muslim community with suspicion due to media propaganda against Muslims. Everywhere there were discussions about Muslims including educational institutions, public places etc and as such gap increased between the communities and enmity and hatred thus increased. Seeing this tense situation DGP himself announced that the police department has not named any organization. Then NIA also issued a press release that investigation is going on and they have not named any organization or arrested any person. But the common Muslim mentally suffered.
The role of police
Immediately Hyderabad and Cyberabad police started the investigation of the blast with the prejudiced mind. They started abducting and detaining Muslim youth in illegal manner. It is very surprising that they were calling by phone and detaining those Muslim youth, who were acquitted by the courts from the Makkah Masjid bomb blast case, got the compensation as well as character certificate. Apart from these youth many other youth were also detained for almost 100 hours. They were humiliated and tortured; they were questioned by the police and its agencies about Maqbool’s background and any relation with him. They were also questioning whether can Maqbool carry those blasts, or make others to carry those blasts, do these youth know anything about it. The police also asked these youth, ‘do you have any anger on the torture done and on the wrong implication in the false cases in the past and with this reason can anyone do such blasts to take revenge of that torture done by police on you’. On this the youth answered that, ‘your government had released Maqbool on the basis of good character and then later arrested in the year 2012. We know only this much about him and any further things you can ask Maqbool itself as he is in your custody’. On asking who can carry these blasts, the youth answered, ‘earlier Assemanand and RSS outfits Abhinav Bharat and Hindu Vahini had done the blasts, they might have done it again and also recently Togadia also said that he will turn Hyderabad into another Ayodhya’. On this police reacted angrily and shouted on these youth saying, ‘do not take their names, they cannot do these blasts as they are nationalists but not terrorists’.
Media role and high drama
After representations and building pressure in various ways, police released these youth by binding over them. Maqbool was brought to Hyderabad from Tihar Jail, New Delhi in the first week of March to NIA Hyderabad office for investigation of blasts. The media and the police presented him in dramatic manner by repeatedly broadcasting him on electronic media by releasing one to one minute news and also telecasted where ever the NIA took him to different places in Hyderabad in connection of blast investigation. The investigation should take place in the investigation room, whereas the investigation was taking place in the media rooms, 9pm programmes on Channels as well as on the roads. It should be noted that there are strong anti- Muslim elements among police and media who are propagating hatred in the public by telecasting each minute information and the programme of NIA (this was not public programme of NIA, it was secret programme but it was made public by the media through live telecast). With this, one can understand what kind of investigation was taking place in connection of blasts and the outcome of the above things. After so much drama taking place, NIA recently announced reward of ten lakhs for providing the bomb blast culprit name. This means that till now all the media houses and the police sources providing the information is completely false propaganda as well as cheating and misguiding the public and spreading hatred against Muslim community.
Still, the investigation of blasts is not in right direction. This time the feelings of Muslims are hurt to large extent due to the biased reporting of media. Anyhow the image of police is bad, but this time, media’s image has become worse than the police image. Now, Muslims are thinking that always one name is brought forward i.e. IM and now Muslims believe strongly that IM is nothing but INDIAN MEDIA which is dividing the people by propagating hatred only for the sake of their TRP ratings. This act is worst than terrorist act!
Just two examples
A youth who was already detained, tortured, jailed and later acquitted by the Court and much later the government of Andhra Pradesh tendered apology as well as issued character certificate, after the Dilsukhnagar bomb blast was made target once again by the police. According to his own words, ‘after acquittal till now, we were trying to come back to normalcy, but the Dilsukhnagar blasts brought a big disturbance in our lives once again. Immediately after the blasts police came in private vehicles and asked me to come along with them till the car, on the pretext that the higher official is in the car and want to speak for few minutes, but as I went till car with them, they made me forcefully sit in the vehicle and in this manner abducted me from my home. As soon as the media came to know this, they started giving scrolling on the various channels that the main culprit of the blasts has been caught. In this way media labeled me as a terrorist once again’.
Another Muslim girl student explained that, ‘after the Dilsukhnagar bomb blasts while I was travelling in the bus I gave my bag to one of the lady who was seated to hold my bag as the bus was full, immediately that woman said, ‘you are TURKOLLU (Muslims) (this word in Telugu language is used for Muslims with full hatred) and I will not take the bag. This girl’s concern and question is after each blast why Muslims are being suspected and discriminated? Why always Muslim community is named as terrorist? She said that media is creating bad image about Muslims and propagating hate among the communities. This is a big blot on media.
During the process of fact finding this committee observed that a particular mind set up is prevalent among various government agencies and media therefore, to establish their hegemony they are targeting Muslim community by showing them as global terrorists. Due to this type of attitude, the Muslim community is passing through a psychological trauma. At every step they are made to feel insecure and second class citizens. After every blast police starts investigation with a Muslim by keeping in mind that Muslims are terrorists. Because of this innocents are becoming targets and real criminals are roaming freely. There is lack of political will in the government to take action against the real terrorists. The clear example is the recent statement of Home Minister of India on ‘Hindu Terrorism’ and RSS and BJP are running the terrorist training camps. However, from all the sides, right, left and centre all the political forces started criticizing Central Home Minister and mounted such a pressure that he had to take back his statement. With this one can understand how strong the Hindutva is which forced the central Home Minister to bow down. Media also played irresponsible role by telecasting false stories and projecting a community as terrorists. Hatred increased because of media. This committee strongly feels that media has done that act which even the terrorists were unable to!
If at all the government is serious about the blasts, investigations and counter terrorism and f it wants to curb the real terrorists then it first of all it should change its mind set-up, build and prove strong political will and instead of prejudiced type of investigation it should be based on facts and scientific manner. Policing should be professional but not communal and media should be restricted to deliver the news but not investigation and trial in the 9 pm bulletin.
At last but not least one should observe in all this process as to who lost and who gained! Media gained TRP ratings, police gained unaccounted money in the name of security check-up, Muslims lost confidence, the present Congress government safely protected itself from real issues, Telangana movement diluted, BJP gained relief from the tag of saffron terrorism, and actual terrorists are roaming freely. It is a strange co-incidence that after a week of bomb blast a Telugu movie named Mahankali on terrorism was released and became a box-office hit!!!