Did Shia-Sunni conflict in Aman Colony of Bhopal, which led to violence on Thursday, have anything to do with ISIS’s war in Iraq and Syria?
Police officials and Sunnis in the area deny. However, the Shias attacked by Sunnis claim that they often faced verbal attacks from Sunnis in the locality in the name of ISIS before arson and attack on them took place on Thursday. Of late, they only intensified their attack.
“Since Muharram this year, they had started saying we should not observe Muharram and mourn. We should attend the Iztima held at Bhopal. Also, they threatened us that they would take revenge on us for whatever is happening in Iraq,” said Amzad Ali, talking to HT.
“When they attacked us on Thursday some of them held in their hands green flags and raised the slogans Pakistan Zindabad,” said Sheru Ali, 50, a property dealer and one of the injured Shias, who along with others have taken shelter at Irani Dera near Bhopal railway station.
Shia leader Gulam Ali said provocative texts were being circulated on Whatsapp in the community for quite some time.
When contacted deputy inspector general of police Bhopal D Sreenivasa Varma, however, said these were just rumours and there was no provocation as such on the part of assailants as far as he knew.
Muazzin of Aman Colony mosque in the Sunni locality, who didn’t want to be quoted, dubbed the allegations as “baseless and fabricated”.
Huddled At Irani Dera
Huddled at the Irani Dera near Bhopal railway station the Shias including women and children were put up under a pandal with bandages on several people’s foreheads. Many of them looked ready to reconcile with Sunnis at Aman colony. However, they feared further attack on them by Sunnis.
“The police remained mute spectators to the attack on us. Nishatpura police supported the assailants. After Wednesday night clash we were about to meet the shahar Qazi for a patch-up at 11 am when the attackers came from all sides and caught us unawares,” said Amzad Ali.