18, Nov 2023 | CJP Team
A case has been registered by the Mangalhat police on November 16 against T. Raja Singh, the BJP’s candidate for Goshamahal, on allegations of delivering a hate speech during a meeting in the early part of this month. According to The Hindu, Goshamahal ACP Kotla Venkat Reddy has stated that the charges against Singh include a violation of offences under Section 125 of the Representation of Peoples Act 1951, which deals with promoting enmity between classes in connection with an election, along with Sections 153 and 153 (A) of the Indian Penal Code. According to Siasat.com, the complaint was lodged by Sub-Inspector of Police Shaik Aslam from the Mangalhat police station who has accused the MLA of delivering a hate speech at Agarwal Bhavan in Maharajgunj.
What is astounding that on November 16, Singh brazenly asserted that if the BJP does not secure victory in the upcoming Assembly polls, the party will at the very least find itself positioned as a considerably strong opposition. Singh, also made several claims, including accusing the ruling BRS party of colluding with leaders from the Asaduddin Owaisi-led AIMIM and orchestrating the inclusion of approximately “17,000 bogus votes” in the constituency. This, according to Singh, has turned the electoral battle in Goshamahal into a direct contest between the BJP and the AIMIM.
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Singh was recently reinstated to the BJP just in time to be fielded as a candidate for Telangana state elections after he was expelled in 2022 for making incendiary comments against Muslims. According to a report by Sabrang India, Singh is facing more than 100 criminal cases. In the current year itself he has been a recipient of seven (FIRs) filed against him for delivering hate speeches;the latest one would be the eighth. In the election affidavit alone, Singh has disclosed that he is facing 89 pending police complaints against him; a glance at the list would tell us that most of these cases amount to “outraging religious feelings” under various offences of the IPC.
To solve this issue of legislators facing a number of criminal cases involving lawmakers, the Supreme Court had earlier on November 9, 2023, directed high courts across the country to establish specialised benches for monitoring such cases. Additionally, the apex court also stated that special courts should refrain from putting off court proceedings in these matters unless there are urgent and inordinate circumstances that compel oneself to do so.
Singh’s violations of the Model Code of Conduct
On November 14 this week, Citizens for Justice and Peace (CJP) submitted a complaint to the Election Commission of India regarding Singh. However, despite this marking the second complaint that CJP has filed against Singh in the same election cycle. The Election Commission of India has responded to the two complaints by CJP on November 18, 2023. The ECI has stated that they have forwarded the complaint, and requested that appropriate action be taken as per ECI guidelines.
In the most recent complaint by CJP, Singh’s most recent speech delivered in his constituency of Goshamahal, Telangana during an election rally itself on November 13 was scrutinised. In this speech, he had urged supporters to ensure higher Hindu voter turnout by accusing “enemies” of cow slaughter, engaging in ‘Love-Jihad,’ and for enforcing religious conversions. “This is a battle for our dharma”, he had stated, “we must ensure that those of a different faith lose this fight,” Singh declared. Singh also made seemingly coloured and communal remarks at the opposition leader Asaduddin Owaisi, from the All India Majlis-e-Ittehad-ul-Muslimeen (AIMIM), based on his religious identity. Singh stated, “We do not support those who endorse terrorists; we ensure that such individuals encounter 72 hoorains.”
CJP has asserted in its complaint that Singh’s speech violates the principles of equality and non-discrimination outlined in the Constitution of India and furthermore, given that the Model Code of Conduct was enforced in the state on October 9, the complaint also highlights Singh’s violations of the guidelines established in the MCC.
Additionally, Singh also issued threats to those opposing him, the complaint details that he asserted, “This election is my ride or die; I am prepared to die for it and even kill for it. My brothers should think twice before betraying my trust, as becoming my enemy will not go well for you.”
The previous complaint, sent on October 25, had highlighted Singh’s use of the bogey of the ‘Love-Jihad’ narrative to justify his reported calls for keeping Garba celebrations as Hindu-only events, and calling for citizens to drive away Muslims even if they are employed at these events.
Similarly, in May 2023,CJP lodged a complaint against Singh with the State Election Commission of Karnataka arguing that his speeches not only breached the Model Code of Conduct but also qualify as an offence under the Indian Penal Code and the Representation of the People Act, 1951. The SEC-Karnataka had responded to CJP’s complaint and stated that they would be forwarding it to necessary authorities. In his Karnataka speech, he had made one particularly incendiary speech at a rally supporting BJP candidate Eshwar Singh Thakur in the Karnataka Assembly elections.
Singh is notorious for inciting hate not just in his own constituency or home state, but also across Maharashtra, Gujarat and Rajasthan. In another poll-bound state that sees assembly elections this November, Singh was in Rajasthan in October giving communally charged speeches. Despite the presence of police at the event in Jaipur, he continued his anti-Muslim rhetoric and used slurs, and even made disparaging comments about Muslim women as he seemed to be calling for potential violence against Muslims. Standing at the podium with a banner reading “Dharma Sabha” behind him and flanked by police on both sides, Singh declared, “Every brave Hindu must become a soldier and strengthen themselves! Not to initiate violence, but if someone confronts you, they should not leave alive. We know how to deal with traitors, how to make them bow their heads. Visit Hyderabad sometime and see for yourself,” he raged on.
This event had also witnessed the presence of BJP’s Rajya Sabha MP Kirodi Lal Meena who has been given a party ticket for BJP in Rajasthan’s Sawai Madhopur.
T Raja Singh will be seen defending his seat from the Ghoshamahal constituency from Hyderabad. The Telangana elections covering 119 assembly constituencies are scheduled to take place in four phases spanning from November 30 to December 3, 2023.