Prophet remarks: Suspended BJP MLA arrested after protests grip Hyderabad
Suspended Bharatiya Janata Party (MLA) T Raja Singh was arrested again on Thursday, two days after getting bail over making offensive remarks against Prophet Muhammad. Tensions gripped Hyderabad after late-night protests in the old city area on Wednesday with many demanding that he be put back in jail. Singh, arrested on Tuesday, was initially released on bail.
Why does this story matter?
- Last week, the suspended BJP MLA was detained by the Telangana Police for attempting to disrupt a show by standup comedian Munawar Faruqui.
- Singh has been a critic of the comedian for his alleged jokes against Hindu gods and goddesses.
- Earlier this week, Singh made controversial remarks against the Prophet, which were notably similar to those made by ex-BJP spokesperson Nupur Sharma in June.
Singh arrested from his residence
#WATCH | Telangana police arrests suspended BJP leader T Raja Singh from his residence in Hyderabad for his alleged remarks against Prophet Muhammad.— ANI (@ANI) August 25, 2022
Massive protests had taken place on August 23, against the leader for his alleged statement. pic.twitter.com/PzwxHWHcY8
Protesters burn effigies, throw stones
Videos showed protesters running about and burning effigies, raising religious slogans, and even stone pelting. While the majority of the protests were held near Charminar, they were reported in other areas too. Reportedly, the police used lathi-charge to disperse protesters. Singh, who was suspended by BJP hours after he was detained by the police, was granted bail by a city court the same day.
Watch: Overnight protests against Raja Singh
Telangana | A large crowd of protestors gathered at Shalibanda in Hyderabad over the alleged remarks of suspended BJP leader T Raja Singh on Prophet Muhammad; police took the situation under control after lathi charge (24.08) pic.twitter.com/5wqOlvAvli— ANI (@ANI) August 24, 2022
Schools, petrol pumps shut in most areas
Escalated anger against Singh's release has led to the fear of more protests. Schools have reportedly been shut in the Old City area, while petrol pumps have been shut in the Lal Darwaza, Moghulpura, Shalibanda, Madina, and Fatehdarwaza areas. However, visuals from Thursday morning showed heavy security deployment at Charminar. Over 100 people were taken into police custody, reports say.
Heavy security deployment at Charminar
Telangana | Security at Charminar in Hyderabad in wake of massive protest here on August 23, against the suspended BJP leader Raja Singh's alleged remarks on Prophet Muhammad.— ANI (@ANI) August 25, 2022
Visuals from the spot this morning. pic.twitter.com/4FebeeFNIO
AIMIM alleges cops barged into protester's home
Asaduddin Owaisi, the All India Majlis-E-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) chief claimed that TS police used 'disproportionate force' against protesters. They barged into a protester's home with disproportionate force and detained 5 youths, the MP claimed. Owaisi's representation to police helped release 90 protesters who were detained, he said. "This is a direct result of Singh's hate speech. He must be sent to jail," Owaisi tweeted.
Owaisi on protests in Hyderabad
1. On my representation to DCP South, ~90 protesting youth from Shah Ali Banda Asha Talkies have been released. AIMIM MLA Ahmed bin Abdullah Balala our corporators have been working all night to de-escalate the situation. I have been in touch with them police too #Hyderabad pic.twitter.com/7WxDx9HuKd— Asaduddin Owaisi (@asadowaisi) August 24, 2022
What is the row about?
Singh, a notorious saffron party leader, was detained by the police on Tuesday but released a few hours later after a court refused to grant police custody. The former Goshamahal MLA released a video on Monday in which he allegedly made derogatory remarks against the Prophet. Calling it 'comedy', he said that a 53-year-old man married a six-year-old girl (referring to the Prophet).
Suspended by BJP after early morning arrest
The Hyderabad Police Commissioner's Task Force nabbed Singh from his residence and booked him under various sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) related to insulting religious beliefs. After national outrage against Singh's statements, the BJP issued a suspension letter to the leader. According to BJP, Singh expressed views contrary to the party and violated its constitution.