By Mike Thomson Presenter, Document, Radio 4
When India was partitioned in 1947, about 500,000 people died in communal rioting, mainly along the borders with Pakistan. But a year later another massacre occurred in central India, which until now has remained clouded in secrecy.
In September and October 1948, soon after independence from the British Empire, 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 India know about the massacre. Critics have accused successive Indian governments of continuing a cover-up.
The massacres took place a year after the violence of partition in what was then Hyderabad state, in the heart of India. It was one of 500 princely states that had enjoyed autonomy under British colonial rule.
When independence came in 1947 nearly all of these states agreed to become part of India.
But Hyderabad’s Muslim Nizam, or prince, insisted on remaining independent. This refusal to surrender sovereignty to the new democratic India outraged the country’s leaders in New Delhi.
After an acrimonious stand-off between Delhi and Hyderabad, the government finally lost patience.