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Hyderabad: The Andhra Pradesh Police on Tuesday arrested All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (MIM) legislator Akbaruddin Owaisi in a hate speech case, after a day of high drama and tension.
He was later taken to Nirmal Rural Police station in Adilabad district, where he was formally questioned by the station officer. Owaisi was arrested at Gandhi Hospital where he underwent several medical tests administered by a team of five doctors who confirmed him fit to withstand the 220-km travel to Nirmal to be quizzed by police.
He is expected to be presented before Munsif Magistrate Ajesh Kumar. Nirmal police, meanwhile, dispersed Majlis activists who tried to barge into the rural police station minutes after Owaisi was brought for questioning.
Owaisi was taken into custody after several rounds of lathi-charge against his supporters in front of the hospital. His supporters pelted stones at APSRTC buses and a few private vehicles in Mushirabad.
While a curfew-like situation prevailed in the old city area, the stronghold of Majlis, cops had alerted all the police stations en route Nirmal. Barricades were erected at all crucial junctions in the walled city and para-military forces staged a march in Nirmal town.
The police have enforced Section 144 at Nirmal. Several arrests have also been made.
The decision to arrest Owaisi was taken after the medical report was submitted to Warangal range IG Venkateswara Rao by the team of doctors around 5:30 pm. However, the report stated that Owaisi has hernia due to which he was unable to walk for long and the bullet that hit him in the thigh during a bid on his life last year, which is yet to be removed, causes him discomfort.
"My client was made to starve from 10 am till 5 pm in the name of medical tests, very well knowing his medical condition. Despite his critical medical condition he cooperated with the police," Owaisi's lawyer said.
While political leaders are apprehensive about the repercussions of Owaisi’s arrest in Hyderabad and across the state, the police have pointed out that the fear of communal clashes cannot act as a deterrent in arresting an “offender.”
In its report, the Intelligence Bureau admitted that there was likelihood of trouble in certain pockets but if the police acted promptly, the situation would not go out of control.
Police officials point out that though Owaisi was given a chance to explain himself. He was summoned to the police station but the MIM leader refused to make an appearance, claiming that he was unwell.
The Nirmal rural police from Adilabad district on Tuesday morning visited Owaisi’s residence at Banjara Hills in Hyderabad and found him to be fit. He was then taken to Gandhi Hospital where he was subjected to tests. According to sources, Owaisi has already been issued notices to appear before the Nizamabad police on Tuesday and also before the Osmania University Police on January 10 in connection with the cases registered against him.
Owaisi had approached the high court seeking to quash all the FIRs against him. The court, is likely to take up the matter on Wednesday.