In yet another move to appease Muslims and draw close to their community, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has suspended its Telangana MLA Thakur Raja Singh for posting a video about Mohammed, Islam's prophet, which the community had protested against. Earlier, a case was registered against Singh under various sections of the Indian Penal Code pertaining to promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, deliberate and malicious acts, intended to outrage religious feelings of any class by insulting its religion or religious beliefs, and criminal intimidation, among others, cops said.
Singh had made a 10-minute video questioning the character of Mohammed, taking a swipe at comedian Munawar Faruqui, whose show he unsuccessfully tried to disrupt recently. The MLA said it was a "comedy" video just like Faruqui's alleged videos on Hindu gods. Singh asked why the insult of Rama and Sita could pass off as comedy but not of other figures revered by other communities.
The BJP is silent on the question raised by the suspended MLA.
The police had taken the MLA into preventive custody on 19 August when he, along with 50 odd supporters, tried to reach the venue of stand-up comedian Faruqui's show to get it cancelled. The show then passed off peacefully.
The police arrested Singh today before he was suspended from his party.
Singh told reporters that social media platforms had pulled down his video. He said he would upload a second part of the clip after his release. "They removed my video from YouTube. I don't know what the police are going to do. Once I am released second part (of the video) will certainly be uploaded. I am doing it for Dharma. I am ready to die for Dharma," he said.
The video was followed by belligerent protests by Muslims in Hyderabad. The protesters alleged that Singh had hurt the sentiments of the community and demanded his immediate arrest.
A huge crowd gathered outside the police commissioner's office and several other places in the city. The police detained the protesters and later moved them to various police stations.
Singh's controversial comments come a couple of months after former BJP spokesperson Nupur Sharma triggered a massive diplomatic backlash with her remarks on Islam's prophet after Alt News co-founder Mohammed Zubair made an edited version of her appearance in a televised debate, which was used as part of a toolkit in Pakistan. The BJP suspended Sharma even as many as 10 cases were filed against her across the country. She has faced threats of rape and murder from around the globe ever since.
"Has it become their official policy that they aren't satisfied with Nupur Sharma and they are making other MLAs say things? People are angry. People have tears in their eyes. Why are they saying things like this about Prophet Muhammad? Our demand is that the BJP should stop doing all this. People can see how much you hate the Prophet," AIMIM chief Asaduddin Owaisi said.