ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Fifteen Minutes of Infamy

Will Akbaruddin Owaisi's speech yield political dividends or bring all other hate-mongers to justice?

In the five decades of its existence the All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (MIM) has remained a minor player in the politics of Andhra Pradesh representing a section of the Muslims of Hyderabad. It now has a few members in the legislative assembly and one member in the Lok Sabha. However, a recent speech given by its legislature party leader, Akbaruddin Owaisi, in Adilabad has suddenly catapulted it to national prominence and the MIM has been subjected to intense scrutiny by mainstream and social media. Akbaruddin is in jail, finally arrested by the police for spreading hate among communities and waging war against the country. The most quoted of his outrageous statements was one where he said that if the police was removed from the country for 15 minutes, India’s 25 crore Muslims (a fancy number in itself when the census states it is 13.8 crore) would teach a lesson to 100 crore “Hindustanis”. Akbaruddin made other incendiary statements as well and it is only proper that he has been arrested. However, the interesting thing is that he has been making similar speeches for at least 15 years, carrying on the “fiery” oratory tradition of his father, Salahuddin Owaisi.

The MIM under Qasim Rizvi defended the “independence” of an Islamic state of Hyderabad under the Nizam at the time of Independence in 1947. It organised the “Razakars” (a mercenary army) infamous for its violence and killings of communist partisans and Hindu subjects of the Nizam. It was banned after Hyderabad state’s merger with the Indian Union in 1948 but was revived by Rizvi, in 1957, in the 48 hours he had between being released from prison and leaving for Pakistan. It is common knowledge this was part of a deal with the Government of India to undercut the popularity of the Communist Party of India in Hyderabad by propping up the MIM to wean Muslims away from it. Rizvi appointed Abdul Wahab Owaisi as president of the revived MIM before leaving for Pakistan.

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