Rajat Sharma

Hindus, Muslims of Hyderabad must not fall into the political trap of hate

akb fullFriday prayers passed off peacefully in Old Hyderabad, particularly in Mecca Masjid, amidst tight security arrangements. Over 4,000 policemen were deployed in the communally-sensitive localities. A handful of young men chanted slogans outside the Mecca Masjid, but they dispersed immediately. Rapid Action Force teams were deployed to prevent any untoward incident.

Meanwhile, BJP MLA T. Raja Singh, who had provoked communal tension by making derogatory comments against Prophet Mohammed, was taken into custody on Thursday by police under Preventive Detention Act. Tight security arrangements were made in the localities of Goshamahal, Tappachabutara, Habeebnagar, Mangalhat and Jummerat Bazar after he was detained.

On one hand, Raja Singh was detained, but, on the other hand, a local Muslim activist Syed Abdahu Kashaf, who was arrested for supporting ‘Sar Tan Se Juda’ (beheading) remarks against Raja Singh, was released on bail on Thursday evening. Kashaf had posted a video on social media raising ‘Sar Tan Se Juda’ slogan and had urged Muslims to protest outside the local DCP’s office.

“Hyderabad is totally controlled by us. My intention is that the person who abused our Prophet must suffer the beheading punishment, because this is my religious belief”, Kashaf said in the video. Kashaf was sent to 10 days’ judicial custody by a lower court, but on Thursday evening, a higher court granted him bail.

BJP MLA Raja Singh, who has been arrested under Preventive Detention Act, may have to remain in jail for nearly a year. One point to note is that AIMIM chief Asaduddin Owaisi, a barrister, had demanded on Wednesday that Hyderabad Police should arrest him under a stronger law, and this was done by police the next day.

On the contrary, 90 Muslim youths who had chanted ‘beheading slogans’ on Wednesday night were arrested, but were released by police the next day. BJP leaders alleged that TRS government in Telangana has completely surrendered to Owaisi’s party. BJP social media in-charge Amit Malviya tweeted: “KCR is playing with fire. He has completely surrendered to AIMIM and Asaduddin Owaisi, who are stoking communal fire in Hyderabad. On the one hand, Owaisi is playing the victim, on the other instigating mobs.”

On Thursday, before arresting him under Preventive Detention Act, police officers read out the charges to T. Raja Singh. They said, (1) you have made derogatory comments against Prophet Mohammed (2) there is already a case against you on Sriram Jayanti and (3) you had also given a provocative statement during UP assembly elections. A large cavalcade of police vehicles accompanied as police took Raja Singh into custody.

Anticipating his arrest, Raja Singh circulated a video in which he alleged that Chief Minister K. Chandrashekhar Rao has now “made it an ego issue”. “I am not going to be afraid, and what I did, was part of ‘dharm yuddh’ (religious war). I tried to raise the issue fo Hindu pride and I believe, every Hindu is with me in this battle”, Raja Singh said in his video.

Raja Singh alleged that it was KCR’s son Urban Development Minister K. T. Rama Rao (KTR) who is at the root of this controversy. He alleged that it was KTR who allowed comedian Munawar Faruqui to do his show in Hyderabad to deride Hindu gods and goddesses. “Had he not done this, there would have been peace in the city”, Raja Singh said.

Whatever Raja Singh said about the Prophet can never be justified or supported. If he had objection to Faruqui’s show, he could have complained to police, which he did not do. The use of abusive language against the Prophet cannot be accepted.

On one hand, Raja Singh has been sent to jail, but those protesters who were chanting slogans to behead him, are moving around freely. Several such protesters were released by police at the request of AIMIM chief Asaduddin Owaisi.

On Wednesday night, protesters indulged in arson and stoning in Shalibanda and Asha Talkies localities, and police had to resort to lathicharge. Ninety people were arrested, but were released after Owaisi intervened with police. Owaisi openly told the protesters over cellphone, not to create tension and go home and take rest.

Sued Abdahu Kashaf was part of Owaisi’s media team. He calls himself a social influencer. He was the first among those who gheraoed the police station after Raja Singh’s abusive video was circulated on social media.

BJP leader and Union Rural Development Minister Giriraj Singh alleged that “Owaisi is playing a double game. On one hand, he is appealing for peace, and on the other, he is getting the protesters released. It appears as if it is not TRS, but Owaisi who is ruling Telangana.”

Meanwhile, BJP leaders in Hyderabad have started getting threats. Laddu Yadav, a BJP youth leader in Hyderabad, alleged that nearly 150 AIMIM supporters came to his home and threatened to kill him. Videos have been uploaded on social media threatening to kill Raja Singh and Laddu Yadav.

Even Raja Singh’s lawyer Karuna Sagar Kashimshetty got seven phone calls in which he was threatened. “Five calls were local and two calls came from Saudi Arabia. One of the callers threatened to behead me for procuring bail for Raja Singh”, he said. The lawyer also said, the notice served on Raja Singh under Section 41A of Criminal Procedure Code has no legal standing, because such notices have to be given within two weeks, whereas most of the cases are four to six months old, and the arguments by prosecution cannot stand in court.

It is up to the courts to give punishment to Raja Singh for his abusive and derogatory remarks. This is the work of judiciary. Those who are giving threats of beheading Raja Singh are also committing a crime. Nobody can be allowed to take law in his own hands. Chanting of slogans like “Sar Tan Se Juda” lowers India’s prestige abroad. This is also not part of Indian culture. There is shrewd politics at work behind those who are out in the streets chanting such slogans.

While Raja Singh wants to consolidate Hindu votes by making abusive remarks, it is Owaisi, who is trying to consolidate his Muslim base by getting the protesters released. Chief Minister K. Chandrashekhar Rao and his party, TRS, is maintaining a stony silence. TRS leaders know that making any comment on the issue can backfire. If they speak out against Raja Singh, the party may lose Hindu votes, and if they show sympathy towards him, Muslims will turn against TRS.

The state government is silent, and KCR has left it to the police to deal with the issue. I would therefore like to appeal to both Hindus and Muslims of Hyderabad, not to get embroiled in politics and not forget the centuries-old brotherhood between both communities. They had been hugging one another for centuries, and must desist from beheading one another. This can only cause a big loss to both communities.

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