Decades of peace and harmony can be easily disrupted by an evil few or even a statement or two. In the past week, the capital city of Hyderabad has seen its years of hard-earned communal harmony being challenged, when unfortunate remarks by BJP MLA T Raja Singh led to protests all across the city.
On Monday, Raja released a video criticising stand-up comedian Munawar Faruqui, who was in the city to perform recently. In the video, Singh is purportedly also seen making comments against Prophet Mohammed, following which protests were held in several parts of the city, on Monday night demanding Singh's arrest. With complaints filed against him in several police stations, Singh was arrested soon after and granted bail.
Protests and disturbances are a thing of the past?
Hyderabad police commissioner CV Anand in an interview to NDTV, assured that there was no real threat to the city and alleviated any apprehensions of breakdown of law and order. "I don't want to comment on what all has happened in the last few days, but you have seen throughout that period has been all peaceful. People have been expressing their anger peacefully. We have been very alert and worked really hard to maintain law and order. We have no apprehension of anything."
With T Raja Singh under preventive detention, he also said that police will be really tough and unsparing on anyone who tries to exploit the situation to disrupt peace and harmony. "We are planning certain actions against anyone who uses threatening language, inflammatory speeches, videos, posts. We have cautioned everyone that whosoever tries to spread hatred, we will be acting impartially and in a very tough manner."
Given the background of the last few days, it is but understandable to have doubts over whether tensions will escalate over the upcoming religious festivals like Vinayak Chaturthi. "We have tackled a lot many festivals from both the communities...Hyderabad's communal amity has a long history; it is very hard earned. People are not really in a position to disturb it. They are quite patient and they understand what's going on. They don't react so easily. There is peace and we will continue to maintain it."
The unfortunate part
During the protests, several videos surfaced on social media wherein children can be seen shouting slogans of, "Sar tan se juda," against suspended BJP MLA T Raja Singh. Taking note of the videos, the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) wrote to the Commissioner of Police, Hydrebad, asking him to produce the children before Child Welfare Committee.