Protests against suspended BJP leader continue throughout the night in Telangana

A section of the protesters turned into a mob and resorted to violence and damaged two police vehicles

A section of the protesters turned into a mob and resorted to violence and damaged two police vehicles

Sporadic protests against now-suspended Bharatiya Janata Party legislator T. Raja Singh’s objectionable comments against Prophet Muhammad continued in several parts of the city throughout the night. Amid a significant increase in the constabulary across the city, police at first urged the irate, sloganeering youths to go home, but later resorted to using force as they lathi-charged the men into dispersing.

Members of the public began showing their displeasure soon after the suspended BJP lawmaker’s release from police custody. People poured into Charminar late on Tuesday night and began raising slogans and demanding the death penalty for the Goshamahal legislator. A little earlier in the night, protests were seen in Chandrayangutta, Misrigunj, and Malakpet where scores of youths took to the streets. Dozens of men entered the Amberpet Police Station and demanded that police arrest Mr. Singh. Burning Mr. Singh’s effigies continued across several parts of the old city well into the wee hours. Despite making attempts at dispersing them, protesters, some carrying black flags and others holding the Tricolour returned.

As the night progressed, protesters poured into the Shalibanda crossroads and were seen near Charminar, Gulzar Houz and Vattapally. Young men on motorcycles were seen throughout the old city raising slogans.

Around 1 a.m., the streets near the Allah Masjid in Shalibanda were bursting at the seams with young men. The youths continued to raise slogans and refused to budge, despite the police’s urging.

A section of the protesters turned into a mob and resorted to violence and damaged two police vehicles. A taxi was also attacked and damaged. Police resorted to lathi charge to disperse the mob.

In an attempt to pacify the demonstrators, All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) legislator Ahmed Balala reached the scene around 2.45 a.m. He then tried to reason with them but the protesters refused to heed his calls of pacification. The unrelenting youths demanded to know why they were lathi-charged.

Amidst intense sloganeering, Mr. Balala then spoke to senior police officers and demanded the Preventive Detention Act be invoked against the BJP lawmaker and was given assurances.

Deputy Commissioner of Police (South Zone) P. Sai Chaitanya was on the spot. Speaking to the media, he said that Mr. Singh’s intention and utterances against Prophet Muhammad were uncalled for and wrong. He said he empathised with the peaceful protesters and urged them not to indulge in any violence. Mr. Chaitanya also said that the Hyderabad City Police has taken Mr. Singh’s objectionable statements and the ensuing reactions as a matter of “ego” and would take all possible measures to put him behind bars.

Other senior officers reasoned with the men and spoke to them by means of the public address system atop a Vajra vehicle, urging them to exercise restraint. The police also assured them the case against Mr. Singh would be taken to the sessions court.

Tension was also palpable near Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha leader Laddu Yadav’s house who alleged that unknown people had entered his neighbourhood and tore off banners. Mr. Yadav was recently arrested for allegedly using unparliamentary language against AIMIM president Asaduddin Owaisi.

In a separate incident, unconfirmed reports of two youths being assaulted began were circulating.

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