BJP MLA who threatened to attack Munawar Faruqui if he performed in Hyderabad taken into custody
In a video message that circulated on social media last week, BJP lawmaker T Raja Singh said the comedian had cracked jokes on Hindu gods and should not be permitted to perform in Hyderabad.
BJP MLA T Raja Singh from Telangana and four others were on Friday taken into preventive custody when they were en route to the venue of a show by stand-up comedian Munawar Faruqui in Hyderabad.
Last week, Singh had threatened to attack the comedian and also burn down the venue if the Telangana government, ruled by the Telangana Rashtra Samithi, allowed Faruqui to perform in the city.
Singh was taken into custody from his residence in Mangalhat and would be released later, police said.
In a video message that was shared widely on social media, the BJP lawmaker said the comedian had cracked jokes on Hindu gods and should not be permitted to perform in Hyderabad.
“Let them see what will happen if he is invited to stage a show in Hyderabad. Wherever the programme is held, we shall beat him up. Whoever offers him a venue, we shall set it afire,” Singh said in the video.
He also challenged “teaching” Faruqui a lesson for “abusing” Lord Ram if he came to Telangana.
Faruqui will perform his show - Dongri to Nowhere - in Hyderabad tomorrow (August 20). He had announced the same on Instagram on August 10.
The comedian was originally supposed to perform in the Telangana capital on January 9, but the show was cancelled due to a spike in Covid-19 cases in the southern state. Even then, the Telangana BJP said it will not allow Faruqui to perform.
Last year in December, Telangana chief minister K Chandrashekhar Rao's son and state IT minister KT Rama Rao gave an “open invite” to comedians like Faruqui and Kunal Kamra, who often draws the wrath of right-wing groups.
“Hyderabad is truly cosmopolitan and offers stand-up comedians an open invite. We don’t cancel shows of Munawar Faruqui and Kunal Kamra just because we are not aligned with them politically,” KTR had said at the time.
Several shows of Faruqui have been cancelled over the last few months, with most being in BJP-ruled states. In November, his show in Bengaluru was cancelled after a stir by Hindu right-wing groups. Besides, his shows in Goa, Gujarat and Chhattisgarh, among others, were cancelled following threats from right-wing groups.
Faruqui was arrested in January for insulting Hindu gods and goddesses in one of his shows in Indore, Madhya Pradesh. He was granted bail by the Supreme Court in February after it called the FIR lodged against the comedian “vague”.
(With agency inputs)