Akbar Owaisi seeks more time to appear before police

Hyderabad, Jan 7 (IANS) Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (MIM) legislator Akbaruddin Owaisi returned to Hyderabad from London early Monday but is yet to travel to Nirmal town in Adilabad district for questioning by police over his alleged hate speeches last month.

Nirmal police had directed Akbar to be at police station by 10.45 a.m., but his lawyer Mohammed Ismail informed them the MIM leader was not well. He sought four days' time for Owaisi to join police for recording his statement over the alleged speech.

It was not clear if the police agreed to the request.

According to MIM sources, if police reject his request, Akbar may surrender in a court in Hyderabad rather than travel to Nirmal, about 200 km from here.

Akbar is not likely to visit Nirmal since he is unwell and also because the situation in the town is tense following protests by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and its frontal organisations. They have called for a shutdown in Nirmal Monday.

BJP workers took out a rally in Nirmal and tried to lay siege to the police station where Akbar's lawyer was meeting the police officials. Police have arrested some protestors.

In Hyderabad, a team of doctors from the Owaisi Hospital examined Akbar Owaisi at his residence in the posh Banjara Hills.

The MIM sources said that Akbar, who had gone to London for treatment, cut back his visit and returned in view of the notices served on him by the police.

Akbar arrived at the Rajiv Gandhi International Airport here around 3 a.m. to a warm welcome by MIM leaders and hundreds of supporters. He later drove to his house.

As the MIM leader faces arrest and the BJP and its frontal organisations continue their protests, police stepped up security in Nirmal town and also in the old city of Hyderabad. Prohibitory orders banning assembly of five or more persons were imposed in Nirmal.

A police official in Nirmal said that all routes to the town were sealed off and vehicles were being thoroughly checked to prevent any untoward incident.

The police in Nirmal last week booked the 42-year-old MIM leader under Indian Penal Code (IPC) Section 121 (waging or attempting to wage war against the state), Section 153A (promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, race, language and doing acts prejudicial to maintenance of harmony) and Section 295A (for deliberate and malicious acts, intended to outrage religious feelings or any class by insulting its religion or religious beliefs).

The Nizamabad police, who too booked Akbar Owaisi under Section 153A and 295A of the IPC, also have directed him to appear before them Jan 8 for questioning over a speech he made in the town.

The Osmania University police in Hyderabad also have slapped a case against him at the directions of a city court, and summoned the legislator Jan 10.