MIM leader Akbaruddin Owaisi injured in firing


Hyderabad: Andhra Pradesh legislator and Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (MIM) leader Akbaruddin Owaisi was injured when assailants opened fire at him here Saturday, sparking tension in the old city of Hyderabad. His condition was reported to be stable at a hospital.Another MIM legislator, Ahmed Balala, was also injured when he tried to save Owaisi.

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One of the assailants was shot dead and two others were injured by the legislator’s security guards.

A profusely bleeding Owaisi, who is the MIM floor leader in the state assembly, was rushed to the Owaisi Hospital in Santosh Nagar.

State Home Minister P. Sabita Indra Reddy quoted doctors at the hospital as saying that Owaisi’s condition was stable.

Earlier, Additional Inspector General of Police A.R. Anuradha also told reporters outside the hospital that his condition was stable.

“He is stable. Doctors are monitoring him carefully. We are sure he will come out safely,” she said while trying to pacify angry MIM activists.

As tension gripped the old city, shopkeepers downed the shutters and buses went off the roads.

Director General of Police K. Aravinda Rao said adequate forces have been deployed to maintain law and order.

“The situation is under control and we are not expecting any serious trouble,” he said.

Akbaruddin Owaisi

According to doctors at the hospital, three bullets were removed from Owaisi’s body while another surgery is likely later in the evening to remove a fourth bullet.

The attack took place around 11.30 a.m. when Owaisi was visiting his Chandrayangutta assembly constituency in the old city area of Hyderabad.

According to witnesses, four to five people attacked Owaisi with knives when he was getting into his vehicle after attending a meeting in Barkas neighbourhood.

As an injured Owaisi tried to take to the steering wheel, attackers opened fire at him.

His party colleague and legislator Balala rushed to Owaisi’s rescue. But Balala and the driver also sustained bullet injuries.

According to the police chief, gunmen of both the legislators opened fire, killing one attacker.

Two other persons are in serious condition, the DGP said.

Both the drivers of the legislators and a corporator of the MIM were also injured in the attack suspected to be mounted by Mohammed Pehlwan and his relatives over a land dispute.

Blood stains, bullets, knives, mobile phones, footwear, sunglasses were seen strewn around at the scene. Owaisi’s vehicle also bore bullet marks and blood stains.

Mohammed Pehlwan had supported Majlis Bachao Tehreek (MBT) against Owaisi during the 2009 elections and had even clashed with the Owaisi’s supporters on a few occasions.

MIM sources told IANS that Pehlwan, accused of being a land grabber, attacked Owaisi as he had handed over to the authorities a piece of land for building houses for poor after freeing it from the alleged encroachment.

However, MBT leader Amjadullah Khan Khalid alleged that Owaisi had been harassing the family of Mohammed Pehlwan, whom he termed as a businessman.

Talking to a Telugu news channel, Pehlwan said his nephew was gunned down and two other relatives were injured by Owaisi’s gunmen. He accused the legislator of targeting him and his family.

Angry MIM activists attacked a hall and two hotels reportedly belonging to the family of Mohammed Pehlwan.

Chief Minister N. Kiran Kumar Reddy, who reviewed the security situation with his cabinet colleagues, rushed to the Owaisi Hospital.

The 39-year-old Akbaruddin Owaisi is the younger brother of MIM president Asaduddin Owaisi, the Lok Sabha member from Hyderabad.

The younger Owaisi is the leader of MIM in the state assembly. The party has seven legislators in the 294-member house.

The leader is the managing director of the Owaisi Hospital and also heads a group of institutions, including a medical and an engineering college.

He became MIM floor leader in the state assembly in 2004, replacing his elder brother Asaduddin Owaisi, who moved to the Lok Sabha in 2004 after their father Sultan Salahuddin Owaisi decided not to contest elections due to ill health.

Salahuddin Owaisi, who dominated the politics in Hyderabad for four decades, was elected to parliament for six consecutive terms (1984-2004), died in 2008 at the age of 77.

It was Salahuddin’s father Moulana Abdul Wahid Owaisi who revived the MIM in 1958 with a new party constitution.

The party was earlier banned as it fought to keep erstwhile Hyderabad state as an independent state.