Telangana BJP’s Raja Singh Arrested Again, After Video On KTR, “Vote-Bank Game”

T Raja Singh, BJP MLA from Telangana, in his latest video.

Hyderabad:
Telangana BJP MLA T Raja Singh was arrested again today, under the stringent Preventive Detention Act, hours after releasing a video about “communal atmosphere” despite an embargo by court. He pointedly targeted minister KT Rama Rao in his new video.

Here are 10 key details in the case so far

  1. “Police in Telangana are puppets in the hands of Asaduddin Owaisi,” he said in the video shared hours before his arrest. In it, he said supporters of AIMIM chief Owaisi, who is MP from Hyderabad, “have been given a free hand to throw stones… no FIR, no arrest”. He accused them of targeting places of worship. His reference was apparently to protests over his comments on Prophet Mohammed, which had led to his arrest and suspension from the BJP on Tuesday.

  2. He blamed Municipal Development Minister KT Rama Rao (‘KTR’) — son of Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao (‘KCR’) — and Home Minister Mehmood Ali for “why Telangana has a vitiated atmosphere today”. He said KTR is “an atheist who believes in no religion”, whose party Telangana Rashtra Samiti “plays the game of Muslim vote-bank” along with AIMIM’s Owaisi.

  3. He was arrested afresh under the Preventive Detention Act under which police can keep habitual offenders in jail for a year. On Tuesday he was arrested on charges of hurting religious sentiments and promoting enmity but was granted bail as the court rejected a police request for custody.

  4. “I have taken the risk today to come in front of you,” Raja Singh said in the new video, aware that he was violating bail conditions. “The court has told me not to address the media. But the situation compelled me to do this today.” He accused “national media channels” of presenting facts “here and there” (or out of context).

  5. “Let me tell you the reason for communal tension in Telangana. There’s this stand-up comedian called Munawar Faruqui. Three months ago we’d got his show in Hyderabad cancelled, with the police’s support,” Raja Singh said.

  6. “This comedian then contacted KTR on Twitter… KTR invited him; gave him police protection. I was arrested. Deploying 5,000 cops, including four IPS officers, he held the programme successfully,” he further said. “KTR allowed Munawar Faruqui to make jokes about our gods… while beating Ram bhakts outside.” The reference was to a show on August 20.

  7. “I had requested the DGP, the commissioner, that such a comedian should not be allowed to hold a programme who abused our gods,” he said. “But KTR’s ego came in between… These people play the game of Muslim vote-bank. They thought the BJP will gain if the programme is cancelled. And the TRS and AIMIM will gain if it’s held successfully.”

  8. On being suspended from the BJP after his arrest on Tuesday, he said, “I will explain to my party that I wasn’t targeting a religion; I was targeting individuals.” The BJP had said after his arrest that Raja Singh’s views were in complete contrast with the party’s position on the matter.

  9. As for what next, he said, “I will legally fight the court battle.” Known for his hardline Hindutva rhetoric, he is named in a number of cases. He is now lodged in Central Prison, Cherlapally, Hyderabad, according to the police.

  10. So far, none of the individuals or parties named by Raja Singh in this new video has reacted. Munawar Faruqui, who is from Gujarat, has had to face show cancellations, cases and worse — including a month in jail in BJP-ruled Madhya Pradesh — apparently over his jokes on religion, politics and other contemporary, contentious issues.

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