MUMBAI: Indian police on Tuesday detained a member of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on suspicion of “promoting enmity in the name of religion” after Muslim groups demanded his arrest over comments made regarding the Holy Prophet (PBUH).

The detention of T. Raja Singh, a lawmaker in the southern state of Telangana, comes months after the BJP suspended its spokesperson Nupur Sharma for her remarks, which had led to a diplomatic backlash against India.

“He has been charged with promoting enmity in the name of religion,” Joel Davis, a senior police official in Hyderabad city, said. “We have detained him and we will arrest him. This [is] about the recent video that he posted.”

The Hindu nationalist BJP would examine Singh’s remarks and take action if he was found to have violated its code, party spokesperson K. Krishna Rao told the News18 channel.

Hundreds of Muslims protested against Singh on Monday evening after the video appeared on social media, footage from media showed.

This was not the first time Singh has landed into a controversy due to his incendiary remarks and hate speech.

According to Al Jazeera, in 2020, Facebook, now Meta, had banned Singh in 2020 “for violating policies covering violence and hate speech”.

Outlining the reason for the ban, the company had said that the politician was banned from Facebook and Instagram under its “dangerous individuals and organisations” policies.

Singh was banished from the platforms after a Wall Street Journal report stating that his account was not suspended despite the company flagging it internally for spreading hatred against minorities.

Published in Dawn, August 24th, 2022

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