MIM leader faces arrest for threatening Taslima


Hyderabad : Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (MIM) legislator Akbaruddin Owaisi is likely to be arrested for allegedly making death threats to Bangladeshi novelist Taslima Nasreen, even as the party reiterated that those committing blasphemy would not be spared.

Support TwoCircles

After registering a case against Owaisi with the approval of a court, the police have now approached it with evidence against him. He is likely to be arrested later Monday.

He was booked late Saturday on charges of criminal intimidation, hours after police registered a case against Nasreen on his complaint that she hurt the religious sentiments of Muslims through her blasphemous writings and speech.

The author escaped an attack by three legislators and few activists of MIM at the Press Club here Thursday when she was attending a book release function.

Owaisi was later quoted as saying that the party would kill Nasreen if she visited the city again. He, however, denied issuing any death threats.

The leader of the party in the Andhra Pradesh assembly, however, declared that he was ready to face arrest and was even prepared to sacrifice membership of the assembly for standing up against those committing blasphemy.

“I am not the one to be frightened by a police case. In fact I wish to be a martyr,” Owaisi told a massive public meeting organised by his party Sunday night in the Muslim-majority old city area to protest Nasreen’s visit.

“Whatever was done to her was not enough. However, Muslims of Hyderabad have become voice of 20 crore (200 million) Muslims of the country. If she visits the city again Muslims will not hesitate to carry out the fatwa against her,” he said.

Nasreen has been living in exile in Kolkata following the fatwa issued against her by some Muslim organisations in Bangladesh in the early 1990s.

Blaming the communist parties for giving Nasreen refuge in West Bengal and inviting her here, he said if MIM had not attacked her, the communists would have even invited Salman Rushdie to Hyderabad.

“Freedom of expression does not mean that you can insult any religion or the Prophet,” he said.

Making a rare appearance at the public meeting, MIM president Sultan Salahuddin Owaisi warned that those committing blasphemy would not be spared.

“Muslims can tolerate anything but they can’t tolerate blasphemy. The love for the Prophet is the core of our iman (belief),” said Salahuddin Owaisi, who represented the Hyderabad Lok Sabha constituency for two decades.

Salahuddin Owaisi extolled the blessings a martyr would receive from god. “A martyr wishes that the almighty Allah send him back to this world again and again to be killed while fighting in the way of Allah,” he said.

MIM, which has its stronghold in the Muslim-majority old city, has one Member of Parliament and five members in the 294-member state assembly.

Muslims constitute 40 percent of the four million people in the city.