Nation Current Affairs 17 Sep 2017 Hyderabad: Macca mas ...

Hyderabad: Macca masjid parking lot home to refugees

Published Sep 17, 2017, 6:57 am IST
Updated Sep 17, 2017, 7:09 am IST
200 families live in Muhajireen camp on masjid premises.
Refugee houses in Muhajireen camp behind the Macca Masjid (Photo: DC)
 Refugee houses in Muhajireen camp behind the Macca Masjid (Photo: DC)

Hyderabad: For over seven decades, a 23,000 sq. yd parcel of land adjacent to the Macca Masjid has been the home of people displaced during Operation Polo, better known as the Police Action.

The Muhajireen (refugee) camp came up on what was then the parking lot of the Masjid, where the nobility used to park their horse-drawn carriages and proceed to offer prayers.


Forty-eight-year-old Ghani Miya says that his family migrated to the city and settled down in Muhajireen camp in the aftermath of the Indian Army entering Hyderabad State as it was known then.

As the years passed, the temporary camp became the permanent address for Mr Ghani Miya’s family, an others like him. 

The camp now has small tenements housing families of up to eight members who pay a monthly rent to the minorities welfare department.

“My father fled the violence in Aurangabad and took shelter in the camp here. He used to tell us that his family was among the affluent ones, but lost everything during the riots and fled to save their life,” Mr Ghani Miya recalls.


Congress leader Mohammed Ghouse says that around 200 families took shelter in the almost 23,000 sq. yd parking lot of the historic Masjid. 

“They have continued to live here for generations and eke out their livelihood by doing menial jobs. Seventy years have passed but their lives have not chan-ged. A handful of families have moved away to other localities and stay in rented premises,” said Mr Ghouse.

The men here go and work in neighbouring markets as rickshaw-pullers or salesmen, while the women make bangles from lac.


Historian M.A. Qayyum says that several ‘Muhajireen camps’ were set up in Hyderabad as there was no major riots in the city at that time. “People from Auranga-bad, Parbhani, Osmanabad, Nanded, Gulbarga, Latur and other districts of what is now Maha-rashtra and Karnataka came in hordes to Hyderabad then. These areas were all part of the Nizam’s Dominions. They were accommodated in temporary camps where they continue to stay,” he explained.

Over a period of time, the other camps were wound up and people moved over to new colonies while many returned to their native places.


“It is the only place in the city that relates directly to the events of Police Action and every house here has a tragic tale to tell,” says Mr Ghouse.

Masjid authorities seek return of land
The Macca Masjid authorities have written to the government to hand over the Muhajireen camp land to the mosque so that it can again be used as a parking lot.

The land measuring about 23,000 sq. yd. was bought and endowed to the Masjid by Nizam VII Mir Osman Ali Khan in the 1930s. “It served as a parking place till 1948 when families who were displaced during the Police Action were given temporary shelter. Of late, permanent buildings have come up on the land parcel,” said Masjid superintendent Mohammed Abdul Qadeer Siddiqui.


During the 1940s, carriages of the Nizam’s family were parked on this land and they entered the mosque from the north gate. Later, the eastern gate was used as the main entrance and an additional gate was opened to allow vehicles inside the mosque.

“Soon the entire area will be converted into pedestrian zone and we will need some parking space. So we have written to the government to relocate those staying in the Muhajireen camp and hand over the land back to the Masjid,” said Mr Siddiqui.

Location: India, Telangana, Hyderabad