UPDATED - Indian lawmaker held for making derogatory remarks about Prophet Muhammad

UPDATED - Indian lawmaker held for making derogatory remarks about Prophet Muhammad

Thakur Raja Singh, ruling Bhartiya Janata Party leader and Telangana state assembly lawmaker, remarks trigger protests in southern Hyderabad city


By Ahmad Adil

NEW DELHI (AA) – A Hindu nationalist Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) lawmaker was arrested for making derogatory remarks about Prophet Muhammad, which sparked large protests in Hyderabad city in India's southern Telangana state on Monday night.

According to Hyderabad police, Thakur Raja Singh, the BJP member of the state Legislative Assembly, was arrested on Tuesday morning after multiple cases were registered against him in different locations in the city.

"We have apprehended him. Further details will be shared soon," Joel Davis, a senior police officer in Hyderabad told Anadolu Agency.

On Monday, Singh released a video showing him making derogatory comments about Prophet Muhammad.

Subsequently, protests broke out in different parts of Hyderabad on Monday night, with protestors demanding action against him.

Later the BJP suspended Singh from the party pending the outcome of an investigation.

According to a letter written by Om Pathak, member secretary of the party's central disciplinary committee, issued to Singh, "you have express views" that are in "clear violation" of the party's constitution.

"I have been directed to convey to you that pending further inquiry, you are suspended from the party and from your responsibilities/assignments, if any, with immediate effect," it said. "Please also show cause within 10 days...why should you not be expelled from the party."

He is the third BJP politician this year to make controversial remarks that offend Muslims' religious sentiments.

Recently, Nupur Sharma, a BJP spokeswoman, made insulting remarks about the Prophet during a TV debate, eliciting widespread condemnation both at home and in the Islamic world. Her remarks were condemned by the Indian government and the party, which suspended her.

Another BJP spokesman, Naveen Kumal Jindal, was expelled from the party for making comments on social media in support of Sharma and against Islam. Following their remarks, massive rallies were held across the country.

More than a dozen Islamic countries as well as international organizations had condemned the controversial remarks.

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