Advocate General B.S. Prasad on Wednesday requested Telangana High Court to examine a 10.27 minute video uploaded by MLA T. Raja Singh, presently lodged in prison having been arrested under PD Act, making derogatory remarks against Islam and Prophet Mohammed.
The AG was presenting contentions of the State before a bench of Justices A. Abhishek Reddy and J. Sridevi in a writ petition filed by the legislator’s wife challenging his incarceration under PD Act. Mr. Prasad said that the legislator spoke about a man over 50 years marrying a minor gir, indirectly referring to Prophet Mohammed and such blasphemous comments hurt religious sentiments of Muslims triggering massive protests.
The legislator passed objectionable comments in the guise of criticising the State government for permitting the show of one Farooqui. In the name of objecting to Farooqui’s show in Hyderabad, the legislator made unacceptable comments and triggered sentiments of Muslims, the AG said.
The Advisory Board of PD Act, in its order confirming detention of Mr. Raja Singh, noted that his detention was made in compliance of the Supreme Court verdict. In that verdict, the apex court had observed that stringent action should be initiated against persons making hate speeches inciting religious tensions and thus creating public disorder, the AG submitted to the bench.
Mr. Prasad told the bench that the jailed MLA had earlier in another speech delivered during a Shobha Yatra on Srirama Navami made comments provoking Muslim community by referring to a green book indirectly referring to ‘Quran’ revered as a holy book by its members. Mr. Singh was facing 18 cases but the PD Act was invoked based on three cases.
Though Mr. Singh was acquitted of the charges in some cases earlier that would not empower and cannot embolden him to make inflammatory speeches against a particular religion, the AG said. There is history-sheet (detailing cases registered and alleged crimes committed) against Mr. Raja Singh in Mangalhat police station, he said.
Referring to the contention of the legislator’s counsel L. Ravi Chander that Telangana police registered a crime against Mr. Singh for an offence allegedly committed in Uttar Pradesh for making hate speech during election campaign in this February, the AG said the case was booked based on a direction issued by Election Commission of India. The case was booked based on a video clip in which the MLA was seen making objectionable comments against a particular religion. This got circulated in social media triggering religious tensions.
The hearing would continue on Thursday.