Hyderabad: Mohammed Pahalwan alias Mohammed Bin Omar Al-Yafayee, who is alleged to be the brain behind the attack on MIM MLA and floor leader in the assembly Akbaruddin Owaisi on Saturday, is a former wrestler who has made money in real estate.
Mohammed, about 65, is the second last among six brothers and a sister. He goes by his popular name Mohammed Pahelwan and still lives in a joint family on Balapur Road in Barkas, the neighbourhood where Yemeni Arabs live since the Nizam era.
According to local sources, it was Mohammed’s elder brother Maqbool who invited MIM to open an office in Barkas in 1979. At that time, Mohammed Amanullah Khan, a close confidant of MIM’s late president Salahuddin Owaisi, had been assigned to nurture Chandrayangutta constituency. Amanullah Khan, who broke up with his mentor after the demolition of Babri Masjid, became a regular visitor to Maqbool’s house. Though both Maqbool and Amanullah Khan have both died, the relations between the two families continued.
After the death of Maqbool, Mohammed became the unofficial caretaker of the family because of his resourcefulness and business acumen. His proximity with the sons of Amanullah Khan did not go well with Akbaruddin who had won the Chandrayanagutta segment. The other major irritant between their relations was the lands that Mohammed had acquired and selling away without getting them cleared first by Akbaruddin.
Their rivalries came to head in 2007 but the elders from the Arab community approached Akbaruddin for patch up with Mohammed which he reportedly rejected. Mohammed in turn decided came out in the open and support Amanullah Khan’s son Qayyum Khan in the 2009 election against Akbaruddin. He also extended his active support to TDP candidate Zahid Ali Khan who was fighting for Hyderabad Lok Sabha seat against Asaduddin Owaisi.
After winning the elections, Akbaruddin reportedly launched a drive to dislodge Mohammed and his family members from their properties claiming that they were either government or Wakf lands. He also used his clout with the local police to open a rowdy-sheet against Mohammed. Sources said that it was this relentless campaign that brought Mohammed and his family to point where they decided to take him head on.
In Saturday’s attack, Mohammed’s brother Younus son Ibrahim was killed in the fire reportedly opened by the gunman of Ahmed Balala, Malakpet MLA, and two other sons Awad and Abdullah were injured. Awad is said to be in a critical condition. The rivalry would not end here, seniors in Barkas believe. They think that given the reputation of Akbaruddin and that of Mohammed, it would be an intermittent gang war, they added. TOI