Owaisi 'hate speech': 10 days on, no action yet

Hyderabad: A provocative speech by Akbaruddin Owaisi, All India Majlis-e-Ittehad-ul Muslimeen (MIM) MLA and brother of Hyderabad MP Asaduddin Owaisi, has gone viral and has been widely condemned for allegedly trying to incite communal passions. The controversial speech was delivered by the 42-year-old politician in Nirmal town of Adilabad on December 24.

A complaint has been filed by a BJP lawyer in a criminal court in Hyderabad but neither the police nor the state government have initiated any criminal action to try and stop the junior Owaisi, who has over the last month delivered controversial speeches in several districts of Andhra Pradesh.

Karuna Sagar, BJP city legal cell convenor for Hyderabad, says he saw the video on a local channel owned by a MIM MLA on December 26 and decided to move the court invoking section 295a and 298 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC). "We have asked the court to take cognisance, issue summons and take action," he says.

Mr Sagar says he has got at least three threatening calls after he filed the complaint and has requested the court itself to take cognisance instead of referring it to the police to file a First Information Report (FIR). He also points out that several criminal cases including attempt to murder are pending against the junior Owaisi.

Asaduddin Owaisi says that since the honourable court would hear the case at 4 pm on Thursday, he would not like to comment as the case is subjudice. "We will abide by the court decision," he says.

Akbaruddin Owaisi is reportedly away receiving treatment for intestinal injuries he suffered when he was attacked by rivals over a land dispute.

Observers say the MIM has turned more aggressive ever since they parted ways with the Congress in November over permissions to allow a canopy for Bhagyalakshmi Temple that has come up by the side of the Charminar in Hyderabad.

Critics are asking why no suo moto action has been initiated so far against Akbaruddin Owaisi. The police, however, says there is no reluctance to take action but they did not want their move to become counter-productive. They are monitoring the developments and have in fact been recording and keeping a watch on all his speeches.

The state government is yet to comment on the issue or make a public statement. The BJP has been demanding criminal action against Mr Owaisi and stringent action to ensure he is disqualified from contesting elections.
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