Indian cops hold 'hate' speech politician

Jan. 9, 2013 at 7:47 AM
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NEW DELHI, Jan. 9 (UPI) -- Police in India are questioning a state politician for allegedly delivering a hate speech at a public meeting.

Akbaruddin Owaisi, leader of the Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen -- Council of the Union of Muslims -- in the Legislative Assembly in the state of Andhra Pradesh was arrested this week after arriving from London where he was having medical treatment, a report by The Times of India said.

Police took Owaisi to Nirmal, around 120 miles from Hyderabad, and charged him with waging or attempting to wage war against the state and promoting enmity between different religious groups, The Times' report said.

Police said they arrested several protesters, including MIM members and Hindi politicians belonging to the Hindi nationalist political party Bharatiya Janata Party, near the jail.

Owaisi was accompanied by his lawyer and his younger brother Burhanuddin Owaisi, editor of the family-run Urdu-language daily newspaper Etemaad.

Akbaruddin Owaisi, 42, is the younger brother of Asaduddin Owaisi, president of the national organization of MIM and a member of India's lower legislative house the Lok Sabah in New Delhi.

Owaisi allegedly made his anti-Hindi comments at a town hall meeting Dec. 22 in Nirmal.

He reportedly accused police of bias against Muslims, insulted Hindu gods and said Muslims could "teach the rest of the country a lesson," a report by the BBC said.

A national census in 2012 estimated the state of Andhra Pradesh, on India's southeastern coast, to be around 90 percent Hindu and about 9 percent Muslim. Christians make up less than 2 percent of the population of 85 million.

Police and security forces put on extra patrols in Hyderabad where Muslims are around 40 percent of the population.

Owaisi reportedly said Hindus have so many gods and goddesses that every eight days more are created, a report by India's Times News Network said in December after his comments were found on the Internet and tweeted out by a journalist and a television commentator.

He also reportedly said "remove police for 15 minutes, we'll will finish off 100 crore (1 billion) Hindus," TNN said.

Hindu-Muslim relations have bedeviled India since its independence from Great Britain in 1947 and the partition of the subcontinent into predominantly Hindu India and mainly Muslim Pakistan, which included Bangladesh, formerly East Pakistan.

The division resulted in much bloodshed on both sides during communal clashes, especially in the Punjab region that was split between the two countries.

Refugees from each side of the Punjab flooded across the border to escape the violence.

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