On Sunday, radical Islamist elements associated with the Hyderabad-based All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) led by the Owaisi brothers and the ruling Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) pelted stones at BJP and Shiv Sena workers who tried to install the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj statue at Bodhan in Nizamabad, Telangana.
Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj’s jayanti falls on Falgun Vadya Tritiya (third day of Falgun month as per Hindu calendar), which was March 21 this year. His birth anniversary is also celebrated on February 19 each year, as per the Gregorian calendar.
Bodhan is a town in the Nizamabad district of Telangana and borders Maharashtra. Nizamabad MP Arvind Dharmapuri said that the Shivaji statue was ready to be unveiled at the Bodhan Ambedkar junction following a resolution passed by the municipality authorities. Visuals showed a large Muslim mob that had gathered around the statue, after which the stone pelting started.
Andhra Pradesh BJP State General Secretary Vishnu Varshan Reddy said that the AIMIM supporters were pelting stones while raising slogans that the statue was being installed in “their area”. Telangana BJP state president Bandi Sanjay Kumar attacked the ruling regime and confirmed that the TRS and AIMIM had joined hands to stop the statue from being unveiled. It is alleged that police handled the situation poorly and that is what emboldened the criminals to indulge in stone-pelting and violence.
Videos emerged on social media that showed a local Bodhan councilor named Imran belonging to the TRS openly threatening citizens. He intimidated locals and promised law and order disruption if the Shivaji statue is installed. There are allegations that both the TRS and AIMIM leaders had conspired beforehand to stop the installation.
Dharmapuri MP Arvind said that the crooked mindset is clear, “Demolish ours—Accomplish theirs!” He warned the K. Chandrashekar Rao-led state government that any attempts to remove the statue will have serious consequences and added that Hindus will resist any such moves.
Trouble broke out when some Islamists opposed the unveiling following which a heated argument broke out. Rather than facilitate the inauguration, local police remained mute spectators and the stone-pelting began injuring many BJP and Shiv Sena members. It was only then that the police intervened but the unruly mob started pelting stones on the police too.
Police were forced to resort to a baton charge to disperse the mob but the miscreants continued stone-pelting. Ultimately, they used teargas to scatter them but by then the damage had been done and the unveiling had to be stopped. Even though there is increased police patrolling, communal tensions prevail in the Nizamabad district.
MP Arvind alleged the tacit involvement of the police and the state administration. Taking to Twitter, he said that the police and the state administration were opposing the installation of a Shivaji Maharaj statue while allowing the construction of illegal structures in the area, calling them “mosques”. He termed such moves, the height of Muslim appeasement.
Meanwhile, Telangana Home Minister Mohammed Mehmood Ali spoke to Director General of Police M. Mahender Reddy and Nizamabad Police Commissioner Nagaraju to ‘take stock’ of the situation. Ali claimed that CM Rao is a ‘secular’ leader who equally respects all communities and ‘castes’. After the bad cop act of his party men, Ali played good cop by appealing to people to ‘cooperate with the police’ in maintaining law and order.
The TRS party has a dominant majority in Telangana state assembly, with 103 out of total 119 MLAs. Although AIMIM has only 7 MLAs, a decent administrator like CM K Chandrashekhar Rao (KCR) is often found appeasing Asaduddin Owaisi as if he is the super CM. KCR has often praised the last Nizam of Hyderabad as a ‘great and secular ruler’ – blithely forgetting that it was the despotic Nizam’s Razakar militia (formed and led by AIMIM founder Kasim Rizvi) which opposed merger with Bharat at the time of partition, and heaped unspeakable atrocities on the majority Hindu population of erstwhile Hyderabad state.
Several Hindu organizations and the BJP called for a Bandh on Monday to protest against the Bodhan violence. Section 144 has been imposed and protests and demonstrations have been banned. Security has been stepped up, additional forces have rushed to the spot, police pickets have been deployed and the Ambedkar junction remains barricaded.
Incidentally, the very same day that the violence erupted, AIMIM chief Asaddudin Owaisi was in contact with Shiv Sena chief and Maharashtra CM, Uddhav Thackeray. It seems Owaisi would like to be a part of the Maharashtra Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government. Even as his workers were being stoned by the Razakar descendants, Thackeray stressed that he was committed to Hindutva and added that his party would not accept the AIMIM who he added: “bow their heads down at the tomb of Aurangzeb”.
Thackeray alleged that both the BJP and the AIMIM were out to discredit his party, called the BJP the ‘Pakistan Janta Party’ or ‘Hizbul Janata Party’, claimed that Hindus are ‘not under threat’ in Bharat and called RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat, ‘Janab’ Mohan Bhagwat. He did not explain why the Shiv Sena workers had joined hands with the BJP to unveil the Shivaji statue at Bodhan.