Akbar Owaisi shifted to Nirmal, police begin questioning

Hyderabad, Jan 8 (IANS) Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (MIM) leader Akbaruddin Owaisi was shifted to Nirmal town in Andhra Pradesh's Adilabad district Tuesday night after he was arrested in Hyderabad on charges of making a venomous speech last month.

Amid tight security, the legislator was brought to the rural police station in Nirmal town, about 200 km from here, at 10 p.m. There was tension near the police station for some time as some legislators staged a protest when they were not allowed proceed towards it. Police arrested two legislators for violating prohibitory orders.

Police officers began questioning Akbar Owaisi with regard to the speech delivered by him at a public meeting in the town on Dec 22. He was accompanied by his younger brother Burhanuddin Owaisi, editor of Urdu daily 'Etemaad' and his lawyer.

Akbar Owaisi, to be produced before a magistrate later, is likely to be lodged in the sub-jail in the town.

MIM workers tried to stop the convoy near the town but were dispersed by the police. The protestors raised slogans against the chief minister.

Nirmal turned into a fortress with police forces deployed across the town to prevent any untoward incident. Some leaders of MIM and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) were arrested as a precautionary measure.

Prohibitory orders banning assembly of five or more people were imposed in Nirmal and several other towns in the district and also in Nizamabad, where the MIM leader is facing another case.

The MIM legislator was taken into custody after subjecting him to a series of medical tests at the government-run Gandhi Hospital here through the day to ascertain if he was fit to face questioning.

He had Monday sought four days time to appear before police in Nirmal and Nizamabad towns in connection with cases booked against him Jan 3 for allegedly delivering hate speeches last month.

Owaisi, who returned from London early Monday, faces charges of waging or attempting to wage war against the state, promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, and for deliberate and malicious acts intended to outrage religious feelings.

The 42-year-old heads the MIM in the Andhra Pradesh assembly. Representing Chandrayangutta constituency in the Old City of Hyderabad for a third time, he is the younger brother of MIM chief and MP Asaduddin Owaisi.

The younger Owaisi's alleged remarks against the majority community sparked widespread protests by the BJP and its frontal groups across the state.

Their activists and supporters also filed a series of complaints against him in several police stations.

Security was also beefed up in the old city of Hyderabad and other parts of the state capital. Police and paramilitary forces were deployed.

The legislator underwent 11 tests, and medical reports revealed that he was fit to face the investigation.

His lawyer alleged that he was not given the reports. He criticized the police attitude towards Akbar Owaisi although he suffers from hernia and the pains due to a bullet embedded in his body.

The legislator was shot and critically injured by his rivals at Barkas in his constituency in May 2011.

Earlier, tension prevailed outside the hospital with hundreds of MIM workers reaching there to show solidarity with their leader.

Some pelted stones on buses and other vehicles, forcing police to use force to disperse them. Police sealed off all routes leading to the hospital.

Owaisi Monday moved the high court, seeking orders to restrain police from arresting him.

He also pleaded that police be directed not to book further cases. The petition is likely to come up for hearing Wednesday.

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