Hello Brother!

Asaduddin Owaisi, Akbaruddin Owaisi's big brother, pays fleeting visit to jail. Brothers in arms!

WrittenBy:Sunayana Singh
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So another Owaisi landed up in jail this week. Wonder if it was the same jail. Or if he and is brother shared a cell. Would that even have been allowed?

Who are you talking about? Asaduddin Owaisi, President of All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) and Member of Parliament from Hyderabad. He’s the older brother of Akbaruddin Owaisi, the more infamous of the two. Big brother Asaduddin, a staunch supporter of baby brother, had said that the media trial of Akbaruddin should stop. He also said, “We are never against any religion. The alleged hate speech is sub judice and we are not going to run away from law, we will face it”.

What did Owaisi senior do to land up in jail? Another speech? Nothing that dramatic. Perhaps he just decided not to be outdone by his brother/realised that going to jail gets more publicity than good governance.

A case was filed against Asaduddin eight years ago by the local police in the Medak district, after the two brothers and a few others were protesting the demolition of a place of worship. A non-bailable warrant had been issued against him for repeatedly failing to show up in court.

What did you mean by a “place of worship”? Well that’s the politically correct way of putting it so we’ll go with that. They allegedly prevented local officials from widening a section of the Hyderabad-Mumbai National Highway near a mosque. And he was accused of criminal intimidation and promoting enmity on religious grounds. He was booked under IPC sections 153-A (promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion), 147 (rioting), 186 (obstructing public servant while discharging duties) and under seven other IPC sections.

On January 20, 2013 he finally surrendered before the Sangareddy court in Medak district and applied for bail. He was in judicial remand till today when he got bail.

Another Owaisi who’s earned his stripes. And quite effectively. A shutdown was observed in Hyderabad and other parts of Andhra Pradesh to protest his arrest. Shops, businesses, educational institutions, were closed in the old city. Autos and buses were mostly not running. Police and paramilitary forces were deployed. There were also the “sporadic incidents of violence” (a must-have in these cases) in Hyderabad.

But don’t blame the MIM! General secretary, Ahmed Pasha Khadri, clarified that the party has not called for any such shutdown but what could they do? People were voluntarily keeping their shops and business establishments closed to show solidarity with Mr Owaisi.

So he was popular huh? Yeah, someone even set a bus on fire.

I meant, he’s an important fellow in Hyderabad? Oh yes. He was born in Hyderabad to Najamunnisa and Sultan Salahuddin Owaisi. His father was a politician and former M P from Hyderabad for six consecutive terms.

Ah, dynastic politics! Yes, and Asaddudin is well-suited and well-educated for the job. He’s a Hyderabad Public School alumni, a BA from Nizam College, Osmania University and completed his LLB and Bar-at-Law (Lincolns Inn), England. No lawyer/ liar jokes please.

Then he should have known not to miss his court dates. You’d think. He’s been an MLA twice and an MP twice and is often referred to as Naqeeb-e-Millat (Leader of the community) by his supporters. And he’s a family man – he and his wife have four daughters.

Thank god not three like most of the Congress politicians in Delhi! So they sound like Hyderabad royalty. According to some media reports, Asaddudin and his brother have “ruled” Hyderabad with an iron fist and have a reputation for controversy. In August 2007, the MIM MLAs attacked and hurled abuses at Taslima Nasreen at a function in Hyderabad. Asaduddin in an interview clarified that this was not an attack but a protest (!!!). When interviewed, he had this to say – “Indian Penal Code 153(a) clearly states that it is an offence to create (sic) amongst different religious communities. Indian Constitution gives me this right that to ensure that no animosity takes place between different religious communities”. Ironic that he is now in jail for violating IPC 153(a) – promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion.

So much for being royalty. Their party, the MIM, may be small (with just one MP and seven MLAs), but is quite influential in Andhra Pradesh. Some news reports have called them the Thackerays of Hyderabad! The Owaisi brothers of the old city are known to be “feared and rarely challenged” and their influence goes beyond just the city.

You’re scaring me. Yeah and at times their influence is so strong within the Muslim community in Andhra that the police supposedly turn a blind eye to their alleged “activities”.

So he’s a hardliner? Well he supposedly isn’t, but probably feels he has to be. He’s considered to be very sober, practical and level-headed with an astute and sharp political mind. The “frothing at the mouth” act on TV is probably what he feels his voters want – someone to speak up for Muslim rights.

What frothing at the mouth? Wasn’t that his brother? In a discussion in Parliament on August 8, 2012 on the Assam violence, he warned that if proper rehabilitation of refugees did not take place, we should “Be ready for a third wave of radicalisation among Muslim youth”. And he emerged as one of the “to watch out for” Muslim politicians in India.

Clearly he doesn’t mind rattling the cage now and then. Not at all. He’s a shrewd politician. He probably wants to take the reach of All India MIM to, well, all of India. His visits to riot-hit areas of Assam and the speech in Parliament are an indication of this. His 14-year relationship with the Congress ended in November when the MIM withdrew support to the UPA government in the Centre.

They withdrew their one MP? Must’ve come as a shock for the UPA. Funny. Don’t forget the seven MLAs whom they withdrew from the Andhra government. The MIM accused the Kiran Kumar Reddy government in Andhra Pradesh of “high handedness” on the issue of a temple renovation in Old City area in Hyderabad, and of colluding with communal forces.

So now what’s the plan? Well he can’t join the BJP, so his options are kind of limited. Now Asaduddin is apparently sending feelers to Jagan Reddy who was his junior in school and whose father YS Rajasekhara Reddy he was on excellent terms with. Perhaps this is the beginning of a new relationship…

Isn’t Jagan Reddy also in jail? Yup. Maybe Owaisi got arrested just so he could go meet him.

Do – Watch out for a TV serial called “Kahaani Jail Jail Ki”

Don’t – Gift him a copy of Lajja

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