Prophet remarks: 4 injured in protests against BJP MLA Raja Singh

Hyderabad: Four people including a police sub-inspector were injured in skirmishes in protests held against suspended BJP MLA Raja Singh. The protestors, demanding action against him for his remarks on Prophet Muhammad, held several rallies all night. The largest one was held at Shalibanda. A handful of Muslim protestors were also reportedly thrashed when they tried to reach Goshamahal.

Protests followed by small bouts of violence broke out after Raja Singh got bail on Tuesday following his arrest by the Hyderabad police. Groups of Muslim youngsters continued to take out protest rallies throughout the intervening night of Wednesday in the Old City. At around 3 am, some of them tried to march towards Goshamahal, but the attempt was prevented by the police.

Large numbers of personnel from the Rapid Action Force, state police and Armed Reserve have been posted to contain the situation. On Tuesday night, senior police officials also managed to convince youngsters to back from Mussalam Jung bridge when they tried to reach Goshamahal. Two vehicles were also damaged by the protestors, who demanded action against Raja SIngh.

The biggest protest was organised at Shalibanda, near Rajesh Medical Hall at the junction. At several places, effigies of Raja SIngh were burnt. The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MLA from Goshamahal constituency Raja Singh was suspended on Tuesday from the party for violating party rules. He released a video in which he passed derogatory comments about Prophet Muhammad calling it “comedy”.

Raja Singh celebrating after granted bail.

The central disciplinary committee of the BJP released his suspension letter, in which it was stated that he violated rule XXV 10 (a) of the party’s constitution. The MLA was arrested and taken to the Bolarum police station on Tuesday after being booked under Sections 295(a), 153(a), 505 (1) (b) and 505 (2) of the Indian Penal Code.

Over 1000 protest in different areas

Around 1000 youngsters protested there from around midnight until nearly 5 am. On two instances, the police had to resort to lathi-charge to disperse the crowds. However, a handful of youngsters pelted stones on the police resulting in injuries to a sub-inspector, whose face was hit by a stone. By 4:45 am, some of the crowd had dispersed. The youngsters were carrying the tri-colour all throughout.

Rallies were also held in Moghalpura, Khilwat, Kala Pathar and other areas. Senior police officials from the Hyderabad police even tried assuring youngsters that action would be taken against Raja Singh. They were however not convinced and questioned how he managed to get bail the same day. Additional commissioner (law and order) DS Chauhan interacted with youngsters at a few places and told them the police will do its job.

Charminar deserted around midnight on Tuesday. Photo: Mir Alamgir.
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Groups clash when youngsters try to reach Goshamahal

Raja Singh on Tuesday morning released a video on YouTube in which he spoke about Prophet Muhammad. The BJP MLA called it “comedy”, and also abused comedian Munawar Faruqui and his mother two days after the comedian’s show was held in Hyderabad. The Telangana unit of the BJP has also disassociated itself from his statements.

When a group of Muslims tried to march to Goshamahal around 11:30 pm, a large number people, believed to be supporters of Raja Singh, retaliated. While a few protestors were severely beaten up, another handful were reportedly taken into custody by the Hyderabad police.

Police officers from the Central Crime Station have also been deployed by to assist the local law and order police. According to sources from the ground, all roads leading to Charminar had been closed by midnight itself. However, the possibility of imposing a curfew has not been considered as the situation is under control, said cops.

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Raja Singh celebrates after bail

After his release, Raja Singh was given a warm welcome by supporters and family members after reaching his residence. Around 100 people gathered and he was escorted to his house by the police. The MLA made

Earlier in the day protests were held across Hyderabad by angry Muslims who demanded his arrest after the video was out. A massive protest took place against Raja Singh in front of the Hyderabad police commissioners’ office at Basheerbagh. In part of the Old City, some shut were shut in protest against the MLA’s comments. The Telangana unit of the BJP has also disassociated itself from his statements.

Cops take hold of a man protesting against BJP MLA Raja Singh. (Image: Siasat)

Shops in various markets of Hyderabad remain closed in protest against the derogatory remarks made by BJP MLA Raja Singh. In the Nampally market, almost all shops were shut.

What Raja Singh said

The BJP MLA passed several derogatory comments against Muslims and Prophet Muhammad in a Youtube video. “How unfortunate is it that he married the (six-year-old) girl?,” said Raja Singh.

Raja Singh was essentially unwilling to let go of the fact that standup comic Munawar Faruqui was allowed to hold a show in the city last week. Faruqui performed at the Shilpakala Vedika with full police protection on August 20. The venue was turned into a fortress by the cops, who also put the BJP MLA under house arrest to prevent him from disrupting it.

Protests began on Monday night, with angry youth demanding his arrest outside city police commissioner CV Anand’s office. It continued on Tuesday and intensified after he was released on bail. BJP chief spokesperson for Telangana Krishna Saagar Rao told Siasat.com that his party respects all religions and faiths. “We are a national party and we don’t support the statements of Raja Singh or hate speech,” he stated.