The Telangana Police on Thursday detained suspended Bharatiya Janata Party leader T Raja Singh for allegedly making disparaging comments about Prophet Muhammad, ANI reported.
The police detained him under the Preventive Detention Act. A press release by the police claimed that Singh had been “habitually delivering provocative and inflammatory speeches and driving a wedge between communities leading to public disorder”.
The police also accused him of being involved in 18 “communal offences” registered across different police stations in Hyderabad.
Singh was taken into custody from his home in Hyderabad. Visuals released by ANI showed his supporters shouting slogans of “Jai Shri Ram” as he was being taken into a police vehicle.
Singh was arrested in the case on August 23 but was granted bail by a Hyderabad court hours later. He was also suspended on the same day.
The court had rejected the police’s demand for custody, saying they had not served a notice to Singh under Section 41A of the Code of Criminal Procedure before arresting him.
Meanwhile, Singh, in a video released on his Twitter handle on Thursday afternoon, had said that he may be arrested soon.
“If anyone says anything bad about my country and my religion, then I will answer in the same language, no matter what the punishment may be,” he said. “Hindus will not step back now.”
On Monday, Singh, the legislator from the Goshamahal constituency, uploaded a video on YouTube, in which he repeated suspended BJP spokesperson Nupur Sharma’s disparaging remarks about the Prophet.
Sharma’s comments had led to a spate of violence and unrest in several parts of the country in June. It had also caused a major diplomatic row, with several Arab countries taking objection to them. The BJP was forced to suspend her.
Singh claimed that his comments were part of a video posted in reaction to comedian Munawar Faruqui’s show held in Hyderabad on August 20. A day earlier, the Hyderabad Police had put the Goshamahal MLA under house arrest after he threatened to beat up Faruqui and burn down the venue where he was scheduled to perform.
On Wednesday, security was ramped up in several parts of Hyderabad amid protests seeking action against Singh, PTI reported. Educational institutes in some parts of the city were closed in view of possible unrest.
However, Additional Commissioner of Police (Law and Order) DS Chauhan said that the situation was “absolutely peaceful” and no one was taken into custody.
Meanwhile, All India Majlis-Ittehadul Muslimeen chief Asaduddin Owaisi on Thursday demanded that Singh should be sent to jail at the earliest. He said that 90 protestors who had been taken into custody on Wednesday have been released.
Owaisi also claimed that in another case, the police used disproportionate force to detain five more persons. They have now been released, the AIMIM chief said.
“This situation is a direct result of Raja Singh’s hate speech,” Owaisi alleged. He, however, urged citizens to maintain peace and not allow Hyderabad to fall prey to communalism.