Unlike other cities, the Rama Navami rally in Hyderabad passed-off peacefully. That doesn't mean the communal poison has not reached the southern city. While there were no incidents of violence as such, calls for the same were made against Muslims by Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MLA from Goshamahal Raja Singh.
It was only after his videos surfaced on social media, there was outrage. He was booked by the Hyderabad police for hate-speech and violating rules.
But what did Raja Singh say?
The BJP MLA invoked the mosque loudspeaker issue, which has been gaining momentum lately in other states as well.
"When will you do the good work (of removing the loudspeaker) in the state. I am going to start (setting up loudspeaker) with my constituency, you do it in yours. If an official questions you over it, ask them on what basis they prohibit you from doing so? The law is the same for everyone. It is the Supreme Court's order. Stop them, we will too," said Singh.
The BJP MLA also hurled abuses at a Muslim journalist, on loudspeaker, during the rally.
Singh also called for the slaughter and sale of pig and tiger meat to oppose the sale of beef in the state.
"Unless you stop slaughtering our sacred cow, pig, and tiger meat will be sold at every crossroad, everywhere you look," he threatened.
Singh in his videos also calls for the economic boycott of Muslim traders," Imagine what will happen if we stop buying from you Gaddars (traitors). You won't even be able to beg on the streets. I call upon all of you to boycott those trades who do not sing Vande Mataram," said Singh, calling for an economic boycott of Muslim traders in the state.
Senior police official told PTI that the police took suo-motu cognizance of his remarks and registered a case. "Raja Singh was accused of giving a speech and singing songs which are provocative in nature, and to create hatred and enmity between different religious communities," he said.
This, however, is not the first instance of the BJP MLA delivering blatant hate speech, nor will it be the last instance, as there have been no actions in the past against him for similar remarks. From over a decade, Raja Singh has been known for his hate speeches, for which he has almost never been to jail.
If Raja Singh is in news, it is very much likely that he has made incendiary and communal comments. We could ignore if a leader of any fringe organization made such comments, eying to garner some cheap publicity. However, an elected legislator making such comments repetitively, and still not facing any music for it, raise serious question on where we are headed as a country.
The Election Commission in February this year directed Telangana chief electoral officer to register a case against Telangana BJP MLA T Raja Singh for his statement that allegedly threatened voters of Uttar Pradesh, and banned him from making public statements, including on social media, about the polls for 72 hours. Raja Singh had said that Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath had readied bulldozers to use against people who do not vote for the BJP.
In 2020, Facebook banned Raja Singh from the platform and tagged him as 'dangerous individual'.
"We have banned Raja Singh from Facebook for violating our policy prohibiting those that promote or engage in violence and hate from having a presence on our platform. The process for evaluating potential violators is extensive and it is what led us to our decision to remove his account," a Facebook spokesperson had said.
In 2018, Raja Singh was booked for streaming a live video on Facebook, in which he said that he wouldn't host Iftar parties during Ramzan unlike his counterparts, who are 'begging for votes' by wearing skull caps and taking selfies.
Raja Singh asked for a ban on the Quran—which he called--'Green book'. According to him, the 'Green book' termed Hindus as Kaafirs, and the verses 'call for the killing of Hindus'. "In our religion, it is written to respect one and all, but there are a few religions, in which their religious texts it is written that Hindus should be killed," he said, adding, "When their religious texts say that Hindus should be slaughtered, how can I go for their Iftar parties? And, how can I host Iftar parties."
Even in 2017, the Golconda police station registered a case against the Goshamahal legislator, stating that he made "derogatory and hate" speeches against Muslims and promoted enmity between Hindus and Muslims. Singh's speeches between July 2015 to December 15, 2017 which were available on social media, were also presented as evidence.
"Whoever comes between us and Hindu Rashtra, we will erase them, and won't spare them. Brothers, prepare yourselves and learn to wield swords. Why do we have to learn? We have to learn to protect our religion and Hindu Rashtra. For this, every Hindu must have weapons at his house. If you don't have weapons, then you can't save yourself or your family," Singh had declared.
And the list just goes on! Raja Singh has made so many inflammatory and communal speeches and remarks by now, it has become difficult to keep a track of all the cases filed against him. According to a News18 report in 2020, Raja Singh had over 60 cases against him — hate speeches accounted for most of them.
Why free pass?
Considering the volume of cases registered against him, it will not be an exaggeration to call Raja Singh a repeat offender. The legislator, probably, has given more hate speeches alone than combined of all hate speeches given by the BJP leaders in the last decade. Despite that, why does Raja Singh continue to get a free pass to blabber what he wishes? Why has he not faced any disciplinary action from the BJP? It will not be a judicial overreach if our courts take cognizance of the legislator's track record of hate speeches, which could very well incite violence. But none of that seems to be happening.
For now, the Goshamahal legislator continues to walk and speak freely despite of plethora of cases registered against him, making a mockery of our constitution and the legislature he is a member of.
If politicians like Raja Singh get free pass to make highly communal speeches, would it not encourage other politicians to enact the same, as there are no practical repercussions? Time to ponder upon this thought.