Hyderabad Police on Thursday arrested suspended BJP MLA Raja Singh hours after issuing him notices in two old cases. Police picked up the MLA from his residence amid continuing STSJ (‘sar tan se juda’ i.e. beheading) protests for his re-arrest for allegedly making derogatory comments about Islam’s Prophet.
A few minutes before his arrest, the MLA had blamed Telangana minister K. T. Rama Rao (son of CM KCR) for the communally tense situation in Hyderabad by allowing Hinduphobic ‘comedian’ Munawar Faruqui to perform in Hyderabad.
The staunch Hindu MLA, who has stated that Dharma comes before politics for him, was arrested a couple of hours after police officers from Shaninayathgunj and Mangalhat police station issued the notices under Section 41A of the Criminal Procedure Code. Both the notices were issued in connection with the old cases.
Raja Singh had released a video, over which Islamists have taken umbrage, after controversial Hinduphobic ‘comic’ Munawar Faruqui was allowed to hold a show in Hyderabad with massive police protection. In that video, which does indeed contain unparliamentary language, Singh talks about Faruqui’s aaka (boss) but at no point does he mention Islam’s Prophet.
For any neutral observer, the video will pale before the abusive anti-Hindu rant and sacrilegious derogatory comments on Hindu deities like Sri Ram, Maa Durga done by AIMIM MLA Akbaruddin Owaisi in 2012 in public rallies before lakhs. Earlier this year, Owaisi was let off by courts for that egregious hate speech.
Munawar Faruqui is a serial offender who has time and again made sacrilegious and derogatory comments on Hindu deities and texts. He has also cracked disturbing jokes on the Godhra train carnage where 59 Hindu pilgrims, mostly women and children, were burnt alive by a 1000-strong Muslim mob.
A case was lodged against Faruqui in Madhya Pradesh last year after which he was arrested. The MP High Court rejected his bail stating that prima facie he made “scurrilous, disparaging utterances, outraging religious feelings of a class of citizens of India with deliberate intendment.”
Faruqui was represented by high profile Congress lawyer Vivek Tankha. Later, the intense pressure mounted by the Lutyens’ lobby for his release resulted in SC Justice Nariman granting him interim bail on grounds of ‘improper’ arrest procedure. Since then, the case has been languishing in courts and last heard the MP police is yet to file the charge-sheet. Once out of jail, Faruqui was feted by several ‘secular’ government like the MVA regime in Maharashtra. He even started minting money through TV reality shows.
However, his shows faced massive groundswell of protests from devout Hindus who forced cancellations in many places. A show was cancelled in Hyderabad too earlier this year, citing ‘Covid restrictions’. Still, the TRS government of Telangana, which treats the hardline Islamist AIMIM party with almost reverential deference, made it a prestige issue this time around and Faruqui did a show in Hyderabad on August 20.
Following the usual ‘blasphemy’ charges leveled at Raja Singh for his video rebutting Faruqui, massive protests broke out. An Islamist named Syed Abdahu Kashaf, a JNU passout and former social media head of AIMIM, who has been previously booked for inciting conspiracy, promoting communal enmity and spreading defamatory content, seems to have spearheaded the Hyderabad STSJ protests.
Others like senior Telangana Congress leader Rashed Khan threatened to burn down Goshamahal, the assembly constituency which Raja Singh represents and a part of Hyderabad which houses around 3 lakh people. Khan had earlier announced a bounty on the head of ex-Muslim Wasim Rizvi, the former Shia Waqf Board chief who renounced Islam and embraced Hindu Dharma to become Jitendra Tyagi.
Cases against the MLA were booked at various police stations in different parts of Hyderabad and other districts of Telangana. Expectedly, police arrested Raja Singh on Tuesday. He was however granted bail by a city court the same day. The 14th Additional Metropolitan Court in Nampally rejected the remand report of the police on the ground that they did not issue notices to the MLA under 141A of CrPC.
Enraged Islamists again hit the streets again, this time deploying even children and women to take out rallies demanding public execution of Raja Singh. A Hyderabad Police cop was seen trying to placate them, passing judgement on Raja Singh’s video and assuring them that police would not fail to arrest him again.
Given the volatile mix of secular politics and Islamism, it is no surprise that Hyderabad Police has done the bidding of their political masters and re-arrested Raja Singh while a hate monger like Akbaruddin Owaisi struts around free in their city.
Violence and terrorism has nothing to do with any religion. Religious teachers must preach non-violence and the spirit of co-operations among the followers. Otherewise, hate will breed hate which will breed violence and social injustice.