A huge crowd of protesters gathered in Hyderabad late last night demanding action against T Raja Singh, the suspended BJP MLA out on bail after being arrested for his alleged derogatory remarks on Prophet Muhammad.
Police used a lathicharge to contain protesters who raised religious slogans, burnt effigies and threw stones. Protests were also reported from several other locations in the old city area of Hyderabad, including Charminar.
T Raja Singh was arrested on Tuesday after a case was registered against him for hurting religious sentiments and promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion. Hours later, he was granted bail as the court rejected a police request for custody.
Mr Singh was suspended and issued a showcause notice by the BJP within hours of his arrest. The party stated that he had expressed views contrary to the party’s position on various matters.
Massive protests had erupted in the city on Tuesday night as well over Mr Singh’s release, prompting the police to step-up security. He had released a 10-minute video allegedly making derogatory comments about Prophet Muhammad, which was later taken off by the social media platform on which it was uploaded.
Taking a swipe at comedian Munawar Faruqui, whose show he unsuccessfully tried to disrupt recently, he said it was a “comedy” video just like Mr Faruqui’s alleged videos on Hindu gods. He asked why the insult of Ram and Sita could pass off as comedy but not of other figures revered by other communities.
Mr Singh’s controversial comments come barely months after former BJP spokesperson Nupur Sharma triggered a massive diplomatic backlash with her remarks on the Prophet. Nupur Sharma was suspended by the BJP and as many as 10 cases were filed against her across the country.
Telangana’s BJP chief Bandi Sanjay Kumar has alleged that Chief Minister K Chandrashekar Rao’s Telangana Rashtra Samiti was trying to trigger communal riots in the city to deflect attention from allegations of her daughter’s involvement in the Delhi excise policy case.
Some BJP leaders had earlier claimed that K Kavitha acted as the “middleman” between the liquor mafia and the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government.
Ms Kavitha then filed a defamation case against the BJP, acting on which, a Hyderabad court issued notices to two BJP leaders and directed them to not make any defamatory comments against her until a decision.