Hyderabad: The city police on Wednesday night barged into several homes and dragged out Muslim youth in and around Shalibanda on as protests against suspended BJP MLA swelled over his derogatory remarks on Prophet Muhammad. The peaceful atmosphere that prevailed earlier in the day came to an end as over 50 people protesting against Raja Singh were taken into custody.
Heavy stone pelting was also reported near Asha Talkies at Shalibanda in the night around 9 pm by protestors, who came out in large numbers at Shalibanda which has become the hub of protests. The protestors, who were unwilling to listen to the police, tried to reach Shalibanda from anywhere they could. The police also resorted to lathi charge on protestors at Charminar as well.
The angry youth at Shalibanda were demanding the arrest of Raja Singh after he passed derogatory comments against Prophet Muhammad in a video released on August 22. Some of the Muslim youth who were arrested also said that the police barged into their home and picked them up in spite of them not being a part of the protests. Local AIMIM corporate Muzaffar rushed to the spot soon after this was reported.
On Wednesday night, the Hyderabad police first detained a few dozen protestors first around 7:30 – 8 pm. Following that, a few hundred then turned up to protest demanding the release of those who were picked up. Soon, the police also was losing patience as the protest grew, and the cops resorted to lathi charge. It was then followed by heavy stone pelting by protestors.
In spite of several warnings by the Hyderabad police to stay indoors, angry Muslim youth have been out on the streets protesting against Raja Singh. The suspended BJP MLA was arrested on August 23 after his remarks on Prophet Muhammad. However, he received bail the same day, which enraged many.
On Wednesday, the Hyderabad police shut all shops and establishments in the Old City before 8 pm. Owners of establishments have been told that the process to down shutters will begin from 7 pm for the next few days at least. Protests against remarks on Prophet Muhammad are likely to continue till Raja Singh is arrested.
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 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 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).