The recent hate speech of the All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (MIM) legislator Akbaruddin Owaisi, now fondly addressed as the ‘Tiger of Deccan’ by his supporters, might have shaken the authorities to initiate action against him, but the gullible masses of the Old City area of Hyderabad have been fed with fair doses of such venomous speeches since the party’s inception as a pro-Nizam party way back in 1927.
The MIM advocated the setting up of a Muslim dominion rather than integration with Indian Union. In 1938 party president, Bahadur Yar Jung gave it a religious manifesto and aligned with the Muslim League in British India. Addressing All India Muslim League conference in Lahore, Nawab Bahadur Yar Jung laid stress on the struggle for Pakistan.
The dreaded Razakars -- a Muslim paramilitary organisation -- that created mayhem in the Deccan was the creation of MIM. Around 1, 50,000 Razakars, Nizam’s army and African Cavalier guards were mobilised to fight against the Indian Union. After the integration of the Hyderabad state with India, MIM was banned in 1948 until 1957. During the last days of Abdul Wahed Owaisi, his son Sultan Salahuddin Owaisi (father of Asad and Akbar) took complete command of AIMIM and turned it into a political outfit by capturing the Mallepally seat of Hyderabad Municipal Corporation. Since then the MIM known as Majlis has dominated the political arena inside the walled city of Hyderabad.
Akbaruddin Owaisi, MIM floor leader in Andhra Pradesh Legislative Assembly, the younger brother of Hyderabad MP and party president Asaduddin Owaisi is known for making inflammatory Islamist speeches. He was the cynosure of the masses in old city as his highly emotional speeches mostly with gory details of murder, loot and rape of Muslims in different parts of the country and other parts of the world attracted crowds and turned their raw emotions into votes.
While Asadduddin, a UK educated Barrister was the ‘cool one’ between the two and who took care of organisational expansion, the volatile Akbar an MBBS drop out from Gulbarga was the crowd puller.
While Akbar’s recent public outburst against the Hindus led to his arrest, he has been known to make provocative statements for a long time. At a meeting outside Hyderabad after MIM severed its ties with the Congress, he had ranted that 25 crore Muslims of India needed the police to stay away for 15 minutes to “show to one billion Hindus who was more powerful.”
In 2007, he had threatened to issue fatwa to kill Salman Rushdie and behead Taslima Nasreen if they ever visited Hyderabad. In 2011, he had said that he would have killed P V Narasimha Rao with his own hands had he not died. On Ramjanmabhoomi issue Owaisi asked, “Where all did Ram’s mother go wandering and where did she give birth to him.” This was met with loud cheers from the audience. On December 12 last year, Owaisi made derogatory remarks about Hindu goddess Bhagyalakshmi at a public rally in Nizamabad. But until now, he had got away with all his ravings and rantings.
Witness to a bloodshed
Opposing the projection of Narendra Modi as BJP’s prime ministerial candidate, Owaisi referred to Ajmal Amir Kasab, as an ‘infant,’ compared to Modi. He asked if Kasab was hanged then why was Modi not hanged, and said that the reason was only because Kasab was a Pakistani and Modi an Indian. Demanding death to Modi Owaisi threatened that if his words were not heard, “O India, destruction and ruin will be your fate.” He threatened that India will witness a bloodshed which has not been seen in the last 1,000 years. He has also dared Modi to come to Hyderabad.
Political analysts see the increasingly militant outbursts of Majlis as an effort to wriggle out of the image of an old city party to a pan-Indian and pan-Islamic political outfit. The deliberate mention of Gujarat riots which even Gujarati Muslims wish to forget and move forward, shows that Majlis wants to project itself as a savior of Muslims.
However, MIM’s efforts to make entry to other districts of Andhra Pradesh that have sizable Muslim populations such as Karimnagar, Medak, Guntur, Kurnool and Anantapur have failed. Failure to win a single Assembly seat outsud Hyderabad was attributed to the ongoing Telangana agitation in the region and the indifferent attitude of low caste Muslims in coastal and Rayalaseema regions towards Majlis.
In fact, Majlis tasted first blood outside Andhra Pradesh and grabbed 11 seats in the recent Nanded (Maharashtra) civic polls. Majlis is also planning to nominate candidates in the coming assembly elections in Marathwada, which has a substantial minority population. Majlis tasted success by highlighting the harassment of Muslim youth from Marathwada for their alleged links with terrorists, and the violence on Muslims in Assam. MIM contested the polls in alliance with the Samvidhan Party, which won two seats.
Prior to the hate speech row, in an effort to consolidate Muslim votes in the run up to the 2014 elections, Asaduddin announced his decision to sever ties with Congress due to the ‘communal behaviour’ of Kiran Kumar Reddy government. Giving a detailed account of communal riots in the state and Hyderabad since 2010, he alleged that the Congress government not only ignored MIM’s demand to withdraw cases against innocent Muslims but also pandered to the Sangh Parivar. The MIM's decision came after the government allegedly allowed expansion of Bhagya Lakshmi temple abutting the historic Charminar in alleged violation of court orders to maintain status quo.
However, MIM’s bonhomie with Jaganmohan Reddy and Asad’s visit to the Chanchalguda jail where Jagan has been jailed in the amassing of wealth case, suggest the opening of a new front in the Andhra Pradesh political arena.
“The hate speech is nothing but an effort to scuttle the Telangana issue at the behest of Jaganmohan Reddy. Majlis and Jagan’s YSRC a pro-Christian party, wish to wean away the minorities from the mainstream,” Harish Rao of Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) observed. With the general elections not far away, the MIM appears to be working to a plan and unless the government acts tough, the hate-mongering brothers are bound to queer the pitch.