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'Where was our MP when we were targetted?'

By Vicky Nanjappa in Hyderabad
April 12, 2009 00:59 IST
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First the horrific Mecca Masjid blasts and then the dastardly twin blasts in Hyderabad -- the world turned its attention on Hyderabad in the aftermath of these blasts. Even as investigations continued, a large number of complaints of atrocities against Muslims, especially in the Old City of Hyderabad grew each day.

After some time all this was forgotten. However, now the issue has once again gained prominence in the run up to the elections.

What do these elections mean to a large number of people who have allegedly suffered atrocities at the hands of the police?

After delimitation, equations in the Hyderabad parliamentary constituency have changed a lot. The vote share of the Muslims has gone up to 70 per cent in this constituency and it is now a straight battle between the Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen and Zahid Ali Khan, the editor of a popular daily.

While MIM MP Asaduddin Owaisi will be looking to defend his seat, he is expecting tough competition from Khan.

Lateef Mohammad Khan, Human Rights Activist who has rallied behind the cause of the Muslim youth allegedly tortured by the police, told that the major issue concerning several Muslim youth is police atrocity. He, along with the several youth who have faced the wrath of the police and have been implicated falsely only to be released later, has a couple of questions to ask their leader.

"We want to ask our sitting MP as to where he was when Muslims were targeted in the name of investigation into the bomb blasts. Where was he when atrocities were meted out against the Muslim women in the police stations? Who has been conspiring against the Muslims? Why was the MP quiet when there was a nexus between the Gujarat and Hyderabad police and why were innocent Muslims labelled as terrorists?"

A mother, whose children continue to languish behind bars, speaks on condition of anonymity. "We thought our leader would help us. When my children were arrested, he assured us that he would do everything to prove their innocence. I saw him the next time when he was seeking my vote. Till date nothing has been done."

While these are certain issues pertaining to the atrocities, Muslims in the Old city of Hyderabad are also worried about the fact that development is a rarity in this area.

Khan says that the Rs 2,000 crore that had been allotted to the development of Old City has gone missing. Why has the government closed schools in the city and occupied that land? Why are Muslims not being given jobs in the IT sector?

Shabbir Ali who runs a shop near the monumental Charminaar says, "The youth have to unite and question their leader with more force. I do understand that several youth who have tried questioning the inaction of the politician has ended up in the police net with charges of terrorism. This is what they are doing to silence the power of the youth. I don't want to take names here but I know of several youth who have been rounded off only because they raised their voice."

Khan points out that Muslims need to be educated and there is a need to provide more facilities.

"Parties like the MIM have been winning elections only the Islamic sentiment. They have not spoken of development till date and all they chant is that they will protect Islam. The uneducated youth tend to get carried away. What I am trying to say is that if these youth are educated then they would give more priority to development and ask their leader questions.

"Sadly, these politicians know for a fact if the youth especially in this part of the city are educated then they will have to much more than rake up a religious sentiment to win the elections."

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Vicky Nanjappa in Hyderabad