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Over 50 FIRs, No Jail Time: Who Is T Raja Singh, Booked for Remarks on Prophet?

The popular BJP leader has been named in over 50 FIRs, many of which pertain to instances of hate speech.

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Edited By :Tejas Harad

In back-to-back blows to Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MLA T Raja Singh on Tuesday, 23 August, the legislator was arrested by Hyderabad Police, and later suspended from the party for allegedly making derogatory remarks against Prophet Muhammad.

The BJP also gave Singh a show-cause notice, asking him for an explanation as to why he should not be expelled.

Singh, who is a two-time MLA from Telangana's Goshamala, was booked under Sections 153A (promoting enmity between two groups), 295A (deliberate and malicious intention of outraging the religious feelings of any class), and 505 (public mischief) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).

The popular BJP leader, who is touted as a dedicated “gau rakshak” in his constituency, has been named in over 50 First Information Reports (FIRs), many of which pertain to instances of hate speech, reports Article 14.

Here is a look at the leader and some of the past controversies he has courted:

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Bajrang Dal to TDP to BJP

Singh, who was a Bajrang Dal member, marked his entry into politics in 2009 as a Telugu Desam Party (TDP) municipal councillor from Mangalhat.

He went on to join the BJP in the lead-up to the 2014 general elections.

As a member of the saffron camp, T Raja was successful in wresting the Goshamahal Assembly seat from the Congress, and was among the only sitting BJP MLAs to retain his seat amidst the pro-Telangana Rashtra Samithi wave in the 2018 Assembly polls.

In the 2018 elections, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath had impelled his campaign, advocating for his candidature.

Ahead of 2023 Telangana elections, Singh had most recently shared a stage with Home Minister Amit Shah, where he hinged the party's campaign on promises of a Hindu nation.

"There is going to be Hindu raj. India should be a Hindu nation. We need to kick out the anti-Hindus in Telangana," the leader proclaimed in May 2022.

'Gau Raksha' & Commitment to Hindutva

In the past, however, Singh has announced his departure from the party multiple times, claiming that he wants to fully dedicate himself to the cow protection movement or 'gau raksha.'

"The Telangana government is not taking any steps to prevent cow slaughtering in Hyderabad. The ruling party MLC’s are doing cattle exports, for the upcoming Bakri Eid, people are starving cattle in their houses, I will go to any extent for my Dharma and cows, as I treat them as my mother,” he was quoted as saying.

However, he rejoined the saffron party every time after he announced his exit.

Speaking to the Telangana Police in 2021, he said, 'If you don't want communal violence in the city, then make sure the cows don't get slaughtered," The New Indian Express reported.

The MLA has also sustained his commitment to Hindutva – the ideology championed by the RSS – and is vocal about his belief in the idea of a Hindu nation.

In an interview with News18, Singh had said that he "was deeply entrenched in the Hindutva philosophy even though he may have been with the TDP."

Past Controversies, a Long Criminal Record, and Anti-Muslim Rhetoric

Among the battery of cases against the Goshamahal MLA, many have been for provocative, and often openly Islamophobic, speeches.

In his election affidavit, there are 50 serious offences listed, including attempt to murder, reports Article 14.

Most recently, on 19 August, he was taken into preventive custody for trying to disrupt Munawar Faruqui’s comedy show. He had alleged that the comedian had insulted Hindu gods in the past and said that the show should be cancelled.

Before that, he received a show-cause notice from the Election Commission for threatening voters in Uttar Pradesh with "bulldozer action" if they did not vote for the BJP in February 2022.

Facebook banned T Raja Singh in December 2020, after his posts were flagged under the "Dangerous Individuals and Organisations" policy due to his hate speech and anti-minority rhetoric.

The BJP member had reportedly threatened to raze masjids and asked for Rohingya Muslim immigrants to be shot dead.

In April 2017, the Hyderabad Police had registered another case against the leader, after he allegedly threatened to "behead" those who tried to stop the construction of Ram Mandir at Ayodhya, Hindustan Times reported.

"Whoever comes between us and Hindu Rashtra, we will erase them, and won’t spare them. Brothers, prepare yourselves and learn to wield swords," Singh declared later that year, resulting in another case for hate speech.

When he filed his nomination as the BJP candidate in 2018, the cases against him had more than doubled from 19 to 43, Times of India reported.

Singh's Latest Entanglement

In a purported video circulated on social media, Singh could be heard making offensive remarks about Islam and Muslims.

An FIR was registered against the Goshamahal MLA after protests erupted on Monday at several locations in Hyderabad, including the South, East, and West Zones, demanding action against him.

However, hours after his arrest, the 14 Assistant Chief Metropoliton Magistrate Court returned his remand application and ordered him to be released.

The Quint has chosen not to publish his derogatory remarks.

(With inputs from Article 14, Hindustan Times, Time of India, News19, and The New Indian Express.)

(At The Quint, we are answerable only to our audience. Play an active role in shaping our journalism by becoming a member. Because the truth is worth it.)

Edited By :Tejas Harad
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