Hyderabad: The people of Chintal Basti, a predominantly Hindu area near Khairatabad, welcomed Goddess Durga on the occasion of Navratri on September 26.
A pandal was set up and decorated with lights and flowers with a huge idol of the goddess, one of the many powerful gods in Hindu mythology.
This nine-day festival is one of the most auspicious days among Hindus. Celebrations include worshipping nine goddesses during the nine days, pandal decorations, dance, and recital of Hindu scriptures. However, on Tuesday, the second day of Navratri, the residents of Chintal Basti woke up to some disturbing news.
According to an eyewitness, two women clad in a burqa entered the pandal set up for devotees to pay their respects to Maa Durga at around 8 am. “There was a boy at the time when the women entered. As they went near the idol, they started attacking it with a hammer,” said the eyewitness from Chintal Basti.
Shocked, the boy tried to stop them but the women continued to attack the idol. The tiger, on which Maa Durga resides, was partially damaged.
“Thye damaged the tiger’s eye and then tried to damage the idol of Maa Durga. But fortunately, they did not succeed,” the eyewitness said.
The terrified boy ran outside the pandal and started calling for help. “I tried to stop the ladies but one of them attacked me with a hammer and then both ran away,” the eyewitness said. The eye witness further said that after harming the idol the two women ran to a nearby church and damaged Mother Mary’s idol.
Meanwhile, the Saifabad police were informed about the episode. Police officials rushed to the spot to calm the angry crowd. The two women have been detained and are currently in police custody.
The two women who damaged Hindu as well as Christian idols in Chintal Basti on Tuesday morning
Speaking to Siasat.com, the Saifabad police inspector Sattaiah said that the situation is under control. “The women have been detained. They are not divulging their names currently. They seem to be mentally unstable. We are still investigating the case,” the police officer said.
The incident created tension among the residents. As a Hindu-dominated area, such incidents are rare. As soon as the news spread, members of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) reached the spot and demanded strict action against the women.
Speaking to the media, the Telangana BJP Mahila Morcha vice president Rajini said that the women were well trained. “These two women have handled five men. It is not possible without proper training. Hindus, old and young, male and female have to unite on this issue. Our Hindu gods and people are being attacked brutally,” she said. She further alleged that the PFI (Popular Front of India) could be behind the incident.
The PFI has recently undergone nationwide raids and search operations in multiple states, including Telangana, from central agencies such as the National Investigation Agency (NIA) and Enforcement Directorate (ED). Many leaders have been arrested.
Kanthi Kumar, a local BJP worker who claimed that the burkha-clad attackers were non-Indian Muslims. “Navratri is a special festival for us. The police have filed a charge sheet but nothing concrete has been done so far,” Kumar said.
Asked if they would allow people from other faith to offer their respects after the incident, Kumar was hesitant. He said, “Navrati is one of the most auspicious festivals for the Hindus. Even though there is a brotherhood between the Hindu-Muslim communities, after this incident we want to celebrate the festival in a peaceful manner. Hence I request them (Muslims) to stay away from the pandal.”
Members of the right-wing organisation Bajrang Dal started a dharna in front of Saifabad police station raising slogans such as “We Want Justice” and “PFI walo ko, goli maro saalo ko”.