With more protests anticipated in Hyderabad after the release of legislator Raja Singh who was arrested for making remarks against Prophet Mohammad, police personnel detained several young men they suspected to be involved in protests on the night of Wednesday, August 24. Visuals showed police resorting to severe lathi-charge on many young men, even as some of their family members denied that they were involved in the protests. Several allegations have surfaced of police personnel using excessive force and in some cases, barging into people’s homes, to detain suspected protesters alleged to have resorted to violence. Following Raja Singh’s release on bail on Tuesday night, small-scale protests continued on Wednesday, mainly at Shah Ali Banda.
AIMIM (All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen) chief and Hyderabad MP Asaduddin Owaisi said that AIMIM leaders had been working through Wednesday to de-escalate the situation. Around 90 protesters, who were picked up from the Shah Ali Banda and Asha Talkies neighbourhoods and taken to the Kanchanbagh police station, were released around 1.30 am after he spoke to the Deputy Commissioner of Police (South Zone), Owaisi said. He alleged that in one case, police detained five young men by using disproportionate force and barging into a home. “This isn’t acceptable. They’ve been released on my representation. I asked our corporators to drop the youths back home,” Owaisi said in a tweet.
Owaisi reiterated the demands for Raja Singh to be arrested again and said, “This situation is a direct result of Raja Singh’s hate speech. He must be sent to jail at the earliest. I also reiterate my appeal to maintain peace. #Hyderabad is our home, it should not fall prey to communalism.”
A few parents of detained youth have alleged that they were picked up although they were not involved in the protests. Shah Ali Banda corporator from AIMIM, Muzaffar told the media that a peaceful protest was underway near Asha Talkies, when some boys pelted stones at the police and started to flee. “The taskforce police ventured into the street and picked these three brothers, who were innocent, unnecessarily targeting them for the crime (instead of those who actually pelted stones). They broke the doors of their house and dragged the three brothers and brought them till Asha Talkies,” he alleged. A relative of the three brothers alleged that a few unidentified young men had entered their street, and they closed their doors on seeing them and the police. “Four to five policemen broke our door, entered our home and brought the three brothers to Kanchanbagh police station while doing lathi-charge on the way,” he alleged.
Some of the Shah Ali Banda residents alleged that it was non-local residents who had engaged in stone pelting and violence, for which innocent youth from the neighbourhood were being targeted. Several young men alleged that they were badly beaten up by the police and showed their injuries to the media. One young man, a labourer who was seen weeping while bleeding from the head, alleged that he was beaten up by the police with a lathi as he was returning after looking for work.
An injured "labourer" youth claims that the police have beaten him with big lathis as he was coming back from Murgi Chowk. Unrest was reported following alleged stone pelting in Hyderabad's old city amid protests against BJP MLA Raja Singh. @thenewsminute pic.twitter.com/nqN4VBO7u6— CharanTeja (@CharanT16) August 25, 2022
Raja Singh was arrested by the city police on Tuesday for making remarks against Islam and Prophet Mohammed in a video, which was later pulled down by YouTube. Later, he was granted bail by a local court. Following his release, protests erupted with people taking to the streets late Tuesday night in various parts of the city including the Charminar area. Protesters, holding black flags, in large numbers gathered in Shahalibanda and Charminar areas during the morning hours. They demanded the arrest of Raja Singh. Effigies were burned by the agitators. Educational institutions in some parts of the city remained closed fearing unrest. Following an uproar over his remarks, the BJP suspended Singh from the party.
TRS Working President KT Rama Rao, son of Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao, in a tweet alleged religious hatred is being incited in Telangana, a peaceful state. “There is a ploy to disturb the social fabric of the country through social media,” he said. Meanwhile, Asaduddin Owaisi-led AIMIM legislator Syed Ahmed Pasha Quadri on Wednesday wrote a letter to Telangana Assembly Speaker P Srinivas Reddy requesting him to initiate 'expulsion' proceedings against Raja Singh for his alleged comments on Prophet Mohammad. In view of the prevailing situation in the South Zone area of the city, police have issued some traffic diversions.
With PTI inputs