Raja Singh arrest: Hyderabad police tighten vigil at Goshamahal

Hyderabad: Anticipating trouble, security has been tightened by the police in the west and south zones (under which Old City falls). It comes a day after the arrest of suspended Goshamahal BJP MLA Raja Singh on August 25. He was detained under the Preventive Detention Act and sent to Cherlapally prison, for his derogatory remarks on Prophet Muhammad.

Police pickets have also been posted at temples in the west and south zone of the city. The MLA’s office, home and Goshamahal constituency all fall under the west zone. Additional security measures have been taken at Tappa Chabutra, Kulsumpura, Mangalhat, Begum Bazar etc. Supporters of Raja Singh had held a protest a day earlier after his arrest.

More than in the Old City, Rapid Action Force and other security personnel have posted at Mangalhat in the west zone. Usually, Muslims after Friday prayers hold protests outside the historic Mecca Masjid. However, now that Raja Singh has been arrested, it is unlikely that anything major will happen. AIMIM chief Asaduddin Owaisi also appealed for peace on Thursday.

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There is a concentration of more policemen particularly in the Goshamahal police division. Cops suspect supporters of Raja Singh might protest the same way Muslims had protested after Raja Singh made the remarks.

Two days ago on August 24, huge protests had been held by Muslims against Raja Singh Shalibanda and in the Old City. They came out in the night after 7 pm, in spite of police warnings to stay in. It led to over 100 people getting detained, while many others were severely thrashed by the cops. The protestor were released on Friday.

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How Raja Singh was arrested

Raja Singh was first arrested on August 23 after he released a video passing derogatory remarks on Prophet Muhammad. He did it in retaliation to comedian Munawar Faruqui being allowed to hold a show in Hyderabad on August 20. The BJP MLA released the video on 22 in the night, and it soon to protests. After his protest on 23rd, he however managed to get bail on a technicality.

Soon, two days ago on August 24, protests in the Old City intensified. Shalibanda became the major hub. The Hyderabad police further said that protests erupted in different parts of the city and other parts of the Telangana. In a press release, the police said Raja Singh drove “a wedge between communities and disturbed the peaceful nature of Hyderabad”.

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 the 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.

As protests intensified against Raja Singh after he was released on bail, the BJP also disassociated itself from his comments. BJP chief spokesperson for Telangana Krishna Saagar Rao earlier 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 and clarified 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).