By Alok Bhatt
Impunity Watch Reporter, Asia
HYDERABAD, India – The southern Indian state of Andhra Pradesh has been facing extensive violence and disorder in its streets, as continual rioting has plagued its streets since Saturday. The riots allegedly began as a result of an agitated skirmish over decorations for the celebration of the Hindu deity Hanuman’s birthday. Hindus and Muslims both committed violent acts towards one another as the Hyderabad streets dissolved into chaos. Communal tensions between the two religious groups are not new to the state of Andhra Pradesh, which has an approximately 60:40 Hindu-to-Muslim population ratio.
It seems that greater friction between Hindus and Muslims has manifested since the Indian government began discussing splitting the Andhra Pradesh state. However, the riots that began on Saturday represented an instance in which the streets of Hyderabad were consumed in violent action. There have been myriad reports of people setting buildings aflame, damaging vehicles on the street and turning the Andhra Pradesh streets essentially to a war zone. Also, about five mosques and one Hindu temple were damaged in the streets
Approximately one-hundred people have been arrested in connection to the rioting thus far. While there has only been one reported death, a man who was stabbed to death in the riots, scores more have been injured to varying degrees. The continual activity and disturbance on the Hyderabad streets would have made it difficult to deliver assistance to those who have sustained injuries.
The police have allegedly been looking into possible catalysts for the extensive violence. However, cooperation from Indian nationals has been difficult to attain. In order to crack down on the raging communities in the Muslim-majority Old Hyderabad, where the riots spiraled out of control, the police stations in various parts of the city have been subject to a curfew. Fluctuations in the terms of the curfew have occurred over the week, including relaxations to allow women and older women to wander.
Both Hindu and Muslim groups claim that the government has done a poor job in quelling the riots, declaring that there was actually a Congressional interest in allowing the riots to continue. These allegations, however, have yet to be confirmed or substantiated.
For more information, please see:
Al-Jazeera – Curfew follows Hyderabad riots – 30 March 2010
HinduJagruti – Jihadi Riots in Hyderabad… – 31 March 2010