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Hyderabad 1948 India's Hidden Massacre

Hyderabad 1948 India's Hidden Massacre

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Published by: Thavam on Sep 24, 2013
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05/30/2014

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By Mike Thomson-
23 September 2013
When India was partitioned in 1947, about 500,000people died in communal rioting, mainly along the borders with Pakistan.But a year later another massacre occurred in central India, which untilnow has remained clouded in secrecy.
In September and October 1948, soon after independence from the BritishEmpire, tens of thousands of people were brutally slaughtered in central India.Some were lined up and shot by Indian Army soldiers. Yet a government-commissioned report into what happened was never published and few in Indiaknow about the massacre. Critics have accused successive Indian governmentsof continuing a cover-up.The massacres took place a year after the violence of partition in what was thenHyderabad state, in the heart of India. It was one of 500 princely states that hadenjoyed autonomy under British colonial rule.
 
When independence came in 1947 nearly all of these states agreed to becomepart of India.But Hyderabad's Muslim Nizam, or prince, insisted on remaining independent.This outraged the new country's mainly Hindu leaders in New Delhi.After an acrimonious stand-off between Delhi and Hyderabad, the governmentfinally lost patience.In addition, their desire to prevent an independent Muslim-led state taking root inthe heart of predominantly Hindu India was another worry.Members of the powerful Razakar militia, the armed wing of Hyderabad's mostpowerful Muslim political party, were terrorising many Hindu villagers.This gave the Prime Minister, Jawaharlal Nehru, the pretext he needed. InSeptember 1948 the Indian Army invaded Hyderabad.In what was rather misleadingly known as a "police action", the Nizam's forces were defeated after just a few days without any significant loss of civilian lives.But word then reached Delhi that arson, looting and the mass murder and rapeof Muslims had followed the invasion.Determined to get to the bottom of what was happening, an alarmed Nehrucommissioned a small mixed-faith team to go to Hyderabad to investigate.
 
It was led by a Hindu congressman, Pandit Sunderlal. But the resulting reportthat bore his name was never published.But now, historian Sunil Purushotham from the University of Cambridge hasobtained a copy of the report as part of his research in this field.
Pandit Sunderlal's team concludedthat between 27,000 and 40,000 died
The Sunderlal team visited dozens of villages throughout the state.At each one they carefully chronicled the accounts ofMuslims who had survived the appalling violence: "We hadabsolutely unimpeachable evidence to the effect that there were instances in which men belonging to the Indian Armyand also to the local police took part in looting and evenother crimes."During our tour we gathered, at not a few places, thatsoldiers encouraged, persuaded and in a few cases evencompelled the Hindu mob to loot Muslim shops and houses."The team reported that while Muslims villagers weredisarmed by the Indian Army, Hindus were often left withtheir weapons.In some cases, it said, Indian soldiers themselves took anactive hand in the butchery: "At a number of places membersof the armed forces brought out Muslim adult males fromvillages and towns and massacred them in cold blood."The investigation team also reported, however, that in many other instances the
Continue reading themain storyAt a number ofplacesmembersof thearmedforcesbroughtoutMuslimadultmales...andmassacredthem”
Sunderlal report

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