Hate speech case: Owaisi finally arrested

Owaisi allegedly tried to instigate the crowd by calling for a test of strength against a community.

HYDERABAD: After being on the run for long, Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (MIM) legislator Akbaruddin Owaisi, was finally arrested today for a making slew of hate speeches aimed at tearing the nation's secular fabric.

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

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.

Owaisi, who underwent medical tests on a police directive to ascertain if he was fit to face questioning for his hate speech has hernia, adhesions in the abdomen and a bullet in his right thigh, according to the medical report.

The legislator underwent 11 tests at the government-run Gandhi Hospital here since 10.30 am with police waiting for the doctors' report before deciding to arrest him.

Akbar's lawyer came out of the hospital around 4 pm to announce that his client was being made to wait without breakfast.

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 have sealed off all routes leading to the hospital.

Police also stepped up security in the communally sensitive old city in anticipation of protests by MIM in the event of Akbar's arrest. Paramilitary forces were also deployed in the old city and other parts of the city.

The situation remained tense in Nirmal town of Adilabad district where Akbar is likely to be taken after his possible arrest and in Nizamabad town where he was supposed to appear before police in a similar case.

Earlier, the legislator left his house in Banjara Hills for the hospital at 10.30 a.m. with tight police security after police officials served a notice asking him to undergo the medical tests.

A police official said at the time they would decide their next legal action after the tests.

MIM leaders including party chief and MP Asaduddin Owaisi were at Akbar's house before he left for the hospital.

Akbar, who returned from London early Monday, sought four days' time to appear before police citing ill-health.

He was directed by police to appear at the Nirmal town police station, about 200 km from here, for questioning with regard to his alleged hate speech delivered last month.

The investigating officer Monday night visited Akbar's house.

Inspector General of Police A.B. Venkateshwar Rao told reporters that the officer found Akbar in a fit condition but the legislator complained of some "internal pains".

The 42-year-old was seriously injured in an assassination attempt by his rivals in the old city in May 2011.

Police in Nizamabad had also directed Akbar to appear before them Tuesday in connection with a similar case in that town.

The young leader sought more time to make a personal appearance.

Akbar, who is a MIM member in the Andhra Pradesh assembly, also moved the high court, seeking orders to restrain police from arresting him.

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

Based on the complaint filed by a Hyderabad-based businessman, the metropolitan magistrate had directed the Osmania University Police to investigate the complaint and file a report before it on January 28.

Kashimshetty Karunasagar, a lawyer, has also filed a similar petition against the MLA on December 28.

Karunasagar has accused the MIM leader of giving provocative speech and sought registration of a case against him under Sections 295A (deliberate and malicious acts intended to outrage religious feelings) and 153A (promoting enmity between different groups on religious grounds) of the IPC.

Karunasagar has alleged Owaisi used inflammatory and derogatory words against Hindu gods while addressing a meeting at Nirmal town of Adilabad district on December 24.

In his almost two-hour long speech on December 24 at Nirmal town at Andhra Pradesh, Akbar allegedly tried to instigate the crowd by calling for a "test of strength" against a community. (Agencies)

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