Bhatkal muslims rue identity crisis

Yasin alias Mohammed Ahmed Siddibappa. The name may not sound familiar unless one adds Bhatkal to it.

Published: 13th August 2017 09:03 AM  |   Last Updated: 13th August 2017 09:03 AM   |  A+A-

The main bus stand of Bhatkal

BHATKAL (KARNATAKA):  Yasin alias Mohammed Ahmed Siddibappa. The name may not sound familiar unless one adds Bhatkal to it. And this has now created an identity issue for Muslims of Bhatkal who want investigating agencies to stop using the name of the town with those who have been arrested with terrorism charges.Muslims in Bhatkal say they are being looked down upon by other community members, not only in their town but also when they travel to other cities in India. The moment they mention Bhatkal, the attitude of hotel staff and security agencies change.

The Tanzeem Jumma Mosque is one
of the landmarks of Bhatkal town

“When we say we are from Bhatkal, hotel staff ask us to provide more than one identity proof. Sometimes they say the rooms are full. There were times when hotel managers were consulted before giving us accommodations. This is the experience that many people from here have faced.

Muslims of Bhatkal do not support those who are caught under terror charges. But there is no point in adding Bhatkal’s name to those who are arrested from the town. It is giving a bad image to the coastal town which was once known for communal harmony,” says an Imam of a famous mosque in Bhatkal. It is not just Yasin who goes with the name Bhatkal, but the investigating agencies have also added Bhatkal to the names of Iqbal and Riyaz, who are facing terror charges and are absconding since 2003. 

Currently, Yasin alias Yasin Bhatkal is in the custody of the NIA and two others Iqbal and Riyaz are said to have taken shelter outside India. Bhatkal town has been an important trading place on the west coast for many centuries. For many, the town resembled an area in Middle East and even today one can see the Middle East’s influence in the structures of Bhatkal.

Looking Back

In 1993, communal riots in Bhatkal saw 17  killed and several others injured. After the incident and Mumbai bomb blasts, many from Bhatkal came in contact with underworld kingpins. Mumbai underworld kingpins began to operate in Bhatkal as many builders from the coastal parts of Karnataka settled in Middle East.Riyaz and Iqbal came in touch with a few fundamentalist organisations and they allegedly got involved in blast cases across the country. After 2002 riots in Gujarat, they founded ‘Indian Mujahideen’ group along with other youngsters including Yasin Bhatkal.

Stay up to date on all the latest The Sunday Standard news with The New Indian Express App. Download now

Comments

Disclaimer : We respect your thoughts and views! But we need to be judicious while moderating your comments. All the comments will be moderated by the newindianexpress.com editorial. Abstain from posting comments that are obscene, defamatory or inflammatory, and do not indulge in personal attacks. Try to avoid outside hyperlinks inside the comment. Help us delete comments that do not follow these guidelines.

The views expressed in comments published on newindianexpress.com are those of the comment writers alone. They do not represent the views or opinions of newindianexpress.com or its staff, nor do they represent the views or opinions of The New Indian Express Group, or any entity of, or affiliated with, The New Indian Express Group. newindianexpress.com reserves the right to take any or all comments down at any time.