Telangana’s Bhainsa was recently in the news for the ugly spate of violence that erupted in the wake of communal tensions between Hindus and Muslims. Earlier this month, violence broke out yet again with at least 10 people, including media persons, civilians and police personnel, getting injured, while two houses and at least one auto-rickshaw were burnt down during the incident.
The communal flare-up in Bhainsa is not a recent phenomenon and the local populace is well aware and conscious of the tensions that have prevailed in the village. Earlier in January 2020, similar riots between Hindus and Muslims had rocked the region. Mr Siddhu, an accomplished journalist working for the digital news portal Channel 369, had extensively covered the violence then.
Recently, Goa Chronicle got in touch with Mr Siddhu in their quest to get to the bottom of the story. Mr Siddhu shared intriguing insights into the events that transpired at Bhainsa in January 2020 and much recently on March 7.
Muslims in Bhainsa attack Hindus amidst Pakistan Zindabad, anti-CAA and anti-NRC slogans: Mr Siddhu
Speaking about the origins of the communal violence that has the village in its throes, Mr Siddhu said the violence had unleashed on 12 January 2020 during a program called ‘Istema’ organised by the Islamic community. The program was organised in a Hindu majority area and loudspeakers were used to blare pro-Pakistan slogans and anti-CAA, anti-NRC slogans.
At 8 PM in the night, the situation took an ugly turn when one of the Hindu residents in the region confronted the group and asked them to stop making noise. Soon, the argument devolved into a heated altercation following which the Hindu boy was slapped, Mr Siddhu claimed. The Hindu boy responded with a resounding slap to the Muslim individual and within no time Muslims from the nearby area gathered and started hurling petrol bombs at the Hindus and throwing stones at them.
Mr Siddhu added that throughout the commotion, the truculent Muslims continued provoking the Hindus by raising Pakistan Zindabad slogans and by abusing Hindu Gods and Goddesses. The Ganesha idol in the area was urinated upon by the Muslims and the Hindu women inappropriately touched, their jewellery snatched away, the Channel 369 journalist said.
The Muslims did not stop at this, Mr Siddhu recalls, adding that they also urinated on food dishes being prepared for the occasion of Makar Sankranti. The mob also tried to kill Hindu children by setting houses on fire and later obstructing the fire tenders that had rushed in the area to control the raging conflagration.
Mr Siddhu claims Telangana government gagged media from covering the Hindu-Muslim riots in Bhainsa in January 2020
Recalling the government reaction over the incident, Mr Siddhu said the incident was the first riot after the formation of Telangana and the state government was determined to hush up the incident.
“The government did not want people to know about the riots and so they gagged the media. No media person could cover the story. I went up Bhainsa along with other members of the Telangana Associations under these circumstances,” Mr Siddhu said.
Siddhu then narrated how the K Chandrashekhar Rao government in Telangana tried to muzzle his free speech and stop him from reporting about the Bhainsa violence. Siddhu said he received calls from the government’s IT cell after he uploaded videos of horrors meted out on Hindus in Bhainsa. He said he was asked to remove the videos but he did not cave into pressure. Two days later, 2 FIRs were filed against him by the Bhainsa police at the behest of the state government.
“The videos went viral and spread like wildfire. 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,” Mr Siddhu said.
He also added that he was helped by local BJP leaders to evade the police and their illegal actions and reach Delhi. Mr Siddhu alleges that the state government did not even reach out to the victims, let alone help them in their quest for justice and rehabilitation. It was the local RSS body that helped the victims rebuild their homes, Mr Siddhu said.
Regarding violence that erupted on March 7, Mr Siddhu said this year, too, riots took place as ‘Istema’ was underway and the areas affected were Zulfikar and Bhatti Galli. He said, much like the 2020 violence, this year too the government has gagged the media and prevented them from covering the violence and the plight of the Hindu victims.
Muslims and AIMIM leaders in Bhainsa give shelter to terrorists and ISI sleeper-cells, claims Mr Siddhu
Mr Siddhu has alleged the role of the AIMIM councillor behind the violence. “This is not the first time when the AIMIM has espoused the rioters, Jabir Ahmed, the AIMIM Councillor 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 are trying to fight AIMIM and expose Ahmed,” he said.
In a shocking revelation, Mr Siddhu said Muslims and AIMIM leaders in Bhainsa had provided shelter to ISI sleeper cells and terrorists. He said the mosque in Bhainsa is a sanctuary to such anti-social elements and every time a Hindu procession passes by it, 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 plight of Hindus in Bhainsa, Mr Siddhu said leading a peaceful life in Bhainsa for Hindus is a challenge. Hindus in Bhainsa live under a constant threat of persecution. He equated Bhainsa with Jammu and Kashmir, adding that whoever raises their voice in support of Hindus gets persecuted.
“On March 7th, 3 journalists were attacked by the 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,” he said.
Hindus activists arrested for helping Hindu victims while Muslim culprits roam scot-free: Mr Siddhu
Mr Siddhu said Bhainsa is a sensitive area where the region’s Muslims enjoy complete support from the AIMIM leaders and the TRS government. Section 144 is routinely invoked to avoid the situation from deteriorating further, he said. Mr Siddhu asserted that the goal of the Muslims in Bhainsa is to turn it into a Muslim-only enclave and pave the 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 done to ensure that the AIMIM remains in power. Bhainsa was smartly divided into areas in a manner that 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,” Mr Siddhu said.
Siddhu said members of Hindu Vahini come to the rescue of Hindus in Bhainsa when they are attacked by Muslim extremists but the administration jails them while the real culprits roam scot-free. Hindu activists are also threatened that they will be arrested and tortured or killed in encounters.