Right-wing MLAs Raja Singh and Nitesh Rane booked for hate speech

The 2 BJP legislators and 10 others were booked for their inflammatory speeches at a Hindu Jan Akrosh rally, which sought to repeal the Waqf Act

Telangana MLA T. Raja Singh (pictured, in saffron kurta) and Nitesh Rane of the BJP booked for hate speeches, leading to vandalism and stone pelting of Muslim-owned shops in the area (photo: IANS)
Telangana MLA T. Raja Singh (pictured, in saffron kurta) and Nitesh Rane of the BJP booked for hate speeches, leading to vandalism and stone pelting of Muslim-owned shops in the area (photo: IANS)
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Nadeem Inamdar

The Solapur City Police on Sunday, 7 January, booked two ultra-right-wing lawmakers—a BJP MLA from Telangana, T. Raja Singh, and a Maharashtra legislator from the BJP as well, Nitesh Rane—for delivering inflammatory speeches during the Hindu Jan Akrosh rally held on Saturday, 6 January.

The rally was organised to demand scrapping of the Central government's Waqf Act. The police also booked 10 unidentified persons for vandalism and stone pelting at the Jail Road police station. Some more were held for rioting.

According to the police, the morcha began at Shivaji Chowk at 6 p.m. and proceeded to Kanna Chowk, arriving there at 7 p.m. There, a public meet was held. The police have said that both legislators delivered hate speeches at the meeting that were aimed at hurting the religious sentiments of various non-Hindu communities. 

Following their delivery of these provocative speeches, it is reported, some miscreants targeted shops owned by members of the local Muslim community and commenced stone pelting. Two right-wing members of the morcha, identified as Satish Shinde and Shekhar Swami, were arrested for rioting and vandalism by the city police.

Jail Road senior police inspector J.N. Mogal said that an FIR has been lodged against the two legislators under the Indian Penal Code—specifically, IPC sections 153, 295A, 188 and 34—and investigation was underway.

A second similar case was lodged at Jodbhavi police station, where an angry mob went berserk and attacked shops belonging to members of the Muslim community. Some members of the mob were apparently armed.

The police have booked 10 persons there, including Sakal Hindu Samaj co-ordinator Sudhir Bahirwade under IPC 153 (wantonly giving provocation, with intent to cause riot), 147 (rioting), 148 (rioting with armed deadly weapon), 149 (unlawful assembly), 336 (endangering life or personal safety of others)  and 427 (mischief).

MLA Rane claimed in a statement: “We are creating awareness amongst Hindus about land jihad, love jihad and gau hatya (cow killing).

"We are seeing that court directions are not being followed and we will question the government officials about it. Today we have gathered here to wage a war against jihadi forces. India is already [a] Hindu rashtra and the entire land belongs to Hindus and not to anybody else,” he added.

Prominent Solapur-based social worker Faroque Shabdi said, “Provocative speeches were being delivered by outsiders to spoil the social fabric of the society for political dividends. We will be requesting the police to take strict action against the troublemakers from outside."

"The city has not been affected by the political gimmicking carried out by the right wing for polarising the society,” he added. 

Solapur police commissioner Rajendra Mane, when contacted for his comments, said, “We have lodged two FIRs in this case and investigation is on. No arrests have been made so far.”

Former Maharashtra chief minister Sushilkumar Shinde of the Indian National Congres said, “Strict action must be taken against the mischief-mongers who want to disturb law and order in the city. It is an inappropriate and unfortunate incident.”

For Raja Singh, there seems to also be an unfortunate pattern of hate speeches for years now.

As for Nitesh Rane, who is also the son of Union minister Narayan Rane, he is an accused in an attempted murder case from 2021 over an attack on a Shiv Sena activist.

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