Hyderabad: Last week on August 28, the Praja Sangrama Yatra of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) passed through the city, starting from Bhagyalaxmi temple at the Charminar. Given the fact that the COVID-19 pandemic is still not over, local anti-CAA-NRC activists have alleged hypocrisy on the police’s part which denied them permissions to hold meetings at the same place before the pandemic.
In late 2019, the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and National Registrar of Citizens (NRC) sparked protests all over the nation which continued till the national lockdown for COVID-19 was enforced. However, in Hyderabad, the police denied permission to almost every single protest up until the BJP rally.
Local anti-CAA NRC protestors questioned the discriminatory treatment meted out to them by the police as most of the requests to organize protests were rejected.
Shiba Minai, an active participant in the anti-CAA protests in the twin cities, said that the police did allow some protests. However, they were carefully handpicked pro-government organizers who either had no significance or had political ambitions of their own. “Those were not protests, they were kitty parties,” she adds.
Furthermore, she alleged that the Hyderabad police harbour a soft spot for the BJP-RSS. “No matter which part of the city or how provocative their rallies are, they always get permission,” she commented on those two factions in a telephonic interview to Siasat.com. In contrast to the BJP’s divisive rallies, the pro-constitution and pro-secularism rallies of the anti-CAA protestors were denied permission.
When contacted by Siasat.com to confirm if the BJP had permission to organize the massive rally flouting COVID-19 norms at Charminar last Sunday, a police official from the area said that the party did have permission.
As for the reason for denying anti-CAA protestors permission to protest, Shiba Minai claimed that the police cited traffic issues, parking space issues, and sometimes said that it is too short a notice to arrange for security. The activist said that the police only gave random excuses to avoid protests, they even told her that “the organizers have a reputation of causing a nuisance.”
A local lawyer who did not want to be quoted, alleged that the police’s bias clear, when the Rashtriya Swayam Sevak Sangh (RSS) took out a pro-CAA rally in Charminar earlier. The lawyer, who organised protests against CAA, added that his group of activists had applied at least 10 times to the police for permission to hold a protest, or at the least a silent protest, but that it got rejected each and every time.
He also mentioned that the police had informants everywhere, including the inner circles of the protestors. “When we didn’t get permission, we decided to organize protests without one, but before we reached the appointed protest site, the police had already arrived at the spot ready to detain anyone with a placard,” he added.
A prominent social activist from Hyderabad, Khalida Parveen, too tweeted questioning the Telangana police’s double standards. She questioned if the BJP’s carried their rally from Golconda to Charminar with permission or without permission.
Ashraf (name changed) commenting on the massive rally organized by the BJP where party chief and Karimnagar Lok Sabha MP Bandi Sanjay made some Islamaphobic remarks by saying that they “will chase away Taliban supporting AIMIM”. The student activist who was detained by the police many times last year stated that such actions reveal the true colors of the TRS government.
“They claim to be a secular party; however, their actions speak otherwise,” he remarked. Ashraf said that when his group of activists tried to raise their voice against the “unconstitutional” CAA, they were detained every single time by the Hyderabad police. “Petty cases were booked against us to intimidate us,” he added.
In a conversation on Telegram, he told siasat.com that the reason the police cited for detaining the protestors was that they didn’t have permission, but whenever the protestors went to ask for permission, their requests were rejected.
“These types of rallies that the BJP is organizing will disrupt the harmonious environment of Hyderabad and will have a long-lasting impact on future generations,” Syed Fakhruddin, Jamaat-e-Islami Telangana’s media sectary said. He alleged that the BJP’s rallies only divide society and spread hatred amongst communities.
“It’s confusing as to why the Hyderabad police which is always so concerned about harmony and rising communal tensions in the city, on the basis of which they rejected permission to many anti-CAA rallies. They casually allow BJP to do and say whatever they want,” another protestor who requested anonymity said.
‘Hyderabad police not very different than U.P police’
Hyderabad police is not much different than U.P police, Shiba Minai alleged. She said that the only difference between Hyderabad police and U.P police is good PR (public relations).
The social activist remarked that Hyderabad police is very good at maintaining a good image in the eyes of the people. “They do soft politics and portray a people-friendly image, only activists who were on the forefront of the anti-CAA movement know the real face of the police, who experienced their passive aggression first-hand,” she said.