HYDERABAD, Andhra Pradesh, India—Reports of communal clashes in Hyderabad have sent shock waves through Sikhs and Muslims living worldwide. Although all details are yet to emerge, a group of unidentified men have been reported as having attacked Gurdwara Sikh Chawni (Kisan Garh). The Nishan Sahib flag in the Gurdwara was burnt down during the attack. While Sikhs were gathering at the site of the attack, violence started to spread across Hyderabad, and number of houses and vehicles had already been torched. Violent clashes that emerged after the incidents claimed three lives.
Dal Khalsa, a Sikh political organization based out of Punjab has condemned the incident and expressed grief over the killings earlier today. Dal Khalsa party spokesperson Kanwarpal Singh made a statement:
It was unfortunate that the clash has resulted in loss of lives. Miscreants were spreading rumors on social medias to vitiate (corrupt) the atmosphere and create more bad blood. It looks as if miscreants associated with Rashtrya Swaym Sewak Sangh (RSS) / Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) were cashing in on the clash and spreading propaganda to create further animosity between both minorities.
Shortly after violence broke out, curfew was imposed to ease tensions. Businesses remained closed throughout the day as violence continued spreading to other parts of the State. Paramilitary forces were deployed in various places.
It is not yet known who was behind the initial attacks, however a large section of local communities have blamed local police and political parties for fueling tensions. Sikh24 has learned that Muslims were named as the gurdwara attackers due to speculation based solely on an identification card with a Muslim name that was found on the site where the Nishan Sahib was burnt.
In addition, a person holding a gun was spotted during clashes, which many have alleged to be a police officer in disguise. The role played by police in the incident has been questioned heavily by both Sikhs and Muslims.