Local politics behind attack on Taslima
Political watchers say the MIM's murderous attack on writer Taslima Nasreen on Thursday is an outcome of the party's falling popularity in its stronghold, the old city of Hyderabad.
The MIM or the Majilis-E-Itihadul Muslimeen is increasingly losing its voice to the Left parties, which are raising long-pending problems and unresolved issues of people in these parts. The Left parties have even managed to lead agitations and hold meetings in the old city, something unthinkable a few years ago.
Seeking a much-needed cause to restore its place among its constituents, the MIM found a perfect target in Taslima.
By attacking Taslima, the MIM has sent across the message that it is the protector of Muslim interests.
The MIM's desperation also stems from the elections to the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation which comprises not only the old city, the new city but neighbouring towns as well - being just six months away. The GHMC election is a prestigious one, as control over the body will only help winners consolidate gains in the 2009 assembly and Parliament polls.
While Taslima herself may take a long time to live down the trauma, the attack on her was just another chapter in local politics.
Hardly anyone in the old city of Hyderabad, which has the highest concentration of Muslims anywhere in the country, was familiar with the writer or her works till the incident.
The attack on Taslima seems to have worked, since the MIM on Friday felt emboldened to even issue public threats to "kill" the writer the next time she visited Hyderabad.
And in all this, the MIM seems to have a loyal ally in the ruling Congress, which is evident from the kid glove treatment to the attackers. All three MLAs and dozen-odd MIM activists arrested for Thursday's attack are free on bail.
The Congress would like to settle scores with the Left parties, particularly the CPM, its friend-turned-bitter-foe.