Public perception put the secret hanging of Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru on February 9 as the reason behind Thursday’s twin blasts in Hyderabad. While investigators also started on the same premise, they now have reasons to believe that it could instead have been in retaliation to simmering communal tension in the city throughout 2012.
“Throughout the year Hyderabad witnessed one after another communal incidents. There was a feeling, however unsubstantiated, that the police, the city administration and the state government had sided with Hindu outfits. This might have attracted the attention of Indian Mujahideen (IM),” said an investigator.
“IM, a terror outfit that is suspected to have caused the blasts, undertakes a lot of research relying on media reports and social media to identify potential causes and sites for its next attacks.”
“It has, in the past, sought to rationalise its terror acts as retaliation against perceived instances of atrocities against the Muslim community,” added the counter-terrorism investigator.
Sleuths are probing whether IM chief Riyaz Bhatkal, whose role is suspected in Thursday’s blasts, had tasked two of his alleged operatives (Sayed Maqbool and Imran Khan) to survey four potential spots in Hyderabad — including Dilsukhnagar — around July last year to allegedly “avenge perceived atrocities against local Muslims”, said a senior investigator, who requested anonymity.
On November 11 2012, sporadic incidents of violence took place in the old city after five legislators of a political party were arrested when they attempted to reach the Bhagyalakshmi temple near Charminar, said the investigator. They were protesting the temple management’s restoration of a tarpaulin on a make-shift pandal with the assistance of the Hyderabad district administration as per the high court's order.
“There was suspicion that the temple was expanding, but that was not the case. The tarpaulin was there as per the Archaeological Survey of India’s report,” said the investigator.
In October 2012, the city police had to enforce restrictions on transportation of cattle from neighbouring districts to Hyderabad for Id-ul-Zuha (Bakr-Id) festival amid protests from butchers.
Earlier, in April 2012, the city saw rioting after a temple was allegedly desecrated in Kurmaguda area by anti-social elements, said the investigator.