Prophet row: Hyderabad police to challenge Raja Singh’s bail? Arrest likely today

Hyderabad: The city police is likely to file a petition before a Sessions Court challenging the bail of suspended BJP MLA Raja Singh. He was arrested and released on Tuesday after a lower court did not accept the police’s remand due to a legal glitch. Raja Singh, whose derogatory remarks on Prophet Muhammad have led to large scale violence, is likely to be arrested again today, said sources.

A strong team of public prosecutors will argue the case before the court. Eight cases have been booked against Raja Singh with the Hyderabad and Cyberabad police. There is the likelihood of the MLA getting arrested in any of the cases irrespective of the fact the cases will be clubbed together later because it is the same offence of remarks against Prophet Muhammad.

On Wednesday night, the Hyderabad police severely cracked down on hundreds of protestors who demanded action against Raja Singh. The protests took place mainly in the Shalibanda area, where at least a few hundred people gathered. As it swelled, the cops barged into into homes and arrested some that way. On Thursday morning, 127 people who were in custody were released by the police.

A cop tries to reason with protestors at Shalibanda in Hyderabad. (Image: Siasat)

Two days ago, D S Chauhan, additional commissioner (law and order) from the Hyderabad police, told a group of protestors that due to some technical mistakes the lower court rejected the remand report of the Mangalhat police and released Raja Singh. “A team is working under C V Anand, Hyderabad Commissioner to take the next step.  I am assuring you all we will approach the higher court and take action,” he had told them.

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127 people released from police custody

All shows shut by 8 pm in Old City

A day after violent protests broke out on Tuesday (August 23) following the arrest and subsequent release of T Raja Singh, the police on Wednesday night shut all shops and establishments in the Old City. Owners of establishments have been told that the process to down shutters will begin from 7 pm for the next few days at least.

The Hyderabad police’s move in anticipation of protests taking an ugly turn in the Muslim-dominated areas after Raja Singh made controversial remarks against the Prophet Muhammad. Further, patrolling at petrol bunks in the Old City will take place. Fuel stations were also made to shut down on Tuesday as well.

Raja Singh has been booked under sections like 153-A, 188, 295-A, 298, 505(1)(B)(C), 505(2), 506, 504, etc of the IPC in eight different cases. His statements on Prophet Muhammad were similar to what suspended BJP spokesperson also said.

Sequence of events

Raja Singh’s derogatory remarks against Prophet Muhammad were posted in a Youtube video on the night of August 22. It has been taken down since. Raja Singh posted it in retaliation to the Telangana government allowing comedia Munawar Faruqui perform in Hyderabad on August 20. He had threatened to disrupt the show, but was prevented from doing so by the police.

Raja Singh then took to Youtube, and posted his own video made derogatory statements on Prophet Muhammad , which he called a “comedy”. Protests erupted the same day around midnight and continued on August 23 following which the BJP MLA was arrested. The situation got worse in the night when scores of protestors remained on the roads. The remained tense on Wednesday as well.

What Raja Singh said

The suspended BJP MLA passed several derogatory comments against Muslims and Prophet Muhammad in a Youtube video. He 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.

Protests began on the night of August 22 itself, 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 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 clarifying that the BJP does not support Singh’s remarks on Prophet Muhammad.

At the end of the video, after making derogatory comments against Prophet Muhammad, Raja Singh said that whatever he uttered was “comedy”. The MLA said he also didn’t like what he said. The video was uploaded on Shree Ram Channel Telangana (now made private).