Hyderabad: Andhra Pradesh legislator Akbaruddin Owaisi was injured when rivals opened fired on him here Saturday, sparking tension in the old city of Hyderabad. Police later said his condition was stable.
Another MIM legislator, Ahmed Balala, was also injured when he tried to save Owaisi, a prominent Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (MIM) leader. One of the assailants was shot dead and two were injured by Balala’s gunmen.
A profusely bleeding Owaisi was rushed to the Owaisi Hospital in Santosh Nagar.
As tension gripped Hyderabad, Additional Inspector General of Police A.R. Anuradha told reporters outside the hospital that his condition was stable.
“He is stable. Doctors are monitoring him carefully. We are sure he will come out safely,” she said while trying to pacify angry MIM activists.
The incident took place around 11.30 a.m. when Owaisi was visiting his Chandrayangutta assembly constituency in the old city of Hyderabad.
According to witnesses, four to five people attacked Owaisi with knives when he was getting into his vehicle after attending a meeting in Barkas neighbourhood. As an injured
Owaisi tried to take to the steering wheel, attackers opened fire on him.
His party colleague and legislator Balala rushed to Owaisi’s rescue. But
Balala and the driver also sustained bullet injuries.
Balala’s security guards returned fire, injuring three assailants. While one of them succumbed to his injuries at a private hospital, two others were stated to be critical.
MIM sources told IANS tnat Mohammed Pehlwan, accused of being a land grabber, and his relatives allegedly attacked Owaisi.
Pehlwan had a dispute with Owaisi over some land which the legislator had handed over to the authorities for building houses for the poor, the sources said.
The shooting caused panic in the Muslim-majority old city. Police sent additional forces, including personnel of paramilitary Rapid Action Force (RAF), to prevent possible violence.
The forces were immediately deployed in the communally sensitive areas. Hundreds of anxious MIM activists and sympathisers rushed to the Owaisi Hospital.
Shopkeepers downed shutters in the old city, including in the usually busy markets around the historic Charminar and Mecca Masjid.
Chief Minister N. Kiran Kumar Reddy, who reviewed the security situation with his cabinet colleagues, rushed to Owaisi Hospital to call on Akbar.
The 39-year-old Akbaruddin is the younger brother of MIM president Asaduddin Owaisi, the Lok Sabha member from Hyderabad.
The younger Owaisi is the leader of MIM in the state assembly. The party has seven legislators in the 294-member house.
The young leader, known for his fiery speeches, played a key role in strengthening MIM in last 12 years.
He defeated political heavyweight and Majlis Bachao Tehreek (MBT) president Amanullah Khan in Chandrayangutta constituency in 1999. Since then he has represented the constituency.