Hyderabad, April 30: The young and popular MIM legislator, Mr Akbaruddin Owaisi, was critically wounded on Saturday when assailants opened fire and attacked him with knives at Chandrayangutta in the Old City.
Another MIM legislator from Malakpet, Mr Ahmad Ballal, who was traveling along with Mr Owaisi in the jeep also sustained a bullet injury. Both were immediately rushed to the nearby Owaisi Hospital in Santoshnagar. While Mr Owaisi received three bullet injuries, Mr Ballal was stated to have been hit by one bullet.
In the broad-day light mayhem enacted in the crowded streets of Chandrayangutta, four persons, including the brother-in-law of the main accused Mohammad Pahelwan, an erstwhile associate of Mr Akbaruddin Owaisi, were reported to have died.
The attempt on the life of Mr Owaisi spread like a wild fire in the Old City and all his supporters and party workers rushed to the hospital. The shops and business establishments pulled down shutters in view of the tension prevailing in the area. The MIM workers also called for bandh in the twin cities.
The police have declared high alert in the walled city besides clamping Section 144 Cr. PC and also deployed as many as 20,000 armed policemen to nip in the bud any untoward incident.
Preliminary investigations revealed that Mr Akbaruddin Owaisi accompanied by his party MLA was traveling in a Gypsy after participating in padayatra organized in Chandrayangutta to resolve a long-standing dispute pertaining to a burial ground in the nearby Barkas area. As the jeep was slowly moving in the rally, the daring attempt on his life was made at about 11.15 am.
According to eye-witness accounts, the assailants led by one Mohammed Pahelwan, attacked the jeep with knives and opened fire injuring Akbaruddin Owaisi and another legislator. In a quick reaction, the gunman of Mr Owaisi was stated to have opened fire on the assailants. Even before the followers of the MIM legislators could recover from the shock of the sudden and unexpected attack, the assailants escaped from the scene of offense. However, two of Mohammad Pahelwan’s followers were injured in the counter firing by Akbaruddin Owaisi’s gunman. One of the injured, stated to be brother-in-law of Mohammad Pahelwan succumbed to injuries on way to hospital. According to one version, Mohammad Pahelwan escaped from the scene of offence on a horse.
The profusely bleeding legislators were immediately shifted to the Owaisi Hospital. The City Police Commissioner, Mr A. K. Khan, and other senior officials rushed to the scene of offence immediately and tightened all security measures in the Old City.
The Chief Minister, Mr N. Kiran Kumar Reddy, and the Home Minister, Ms Sabitha Indra Reddy, who were participating in two different programmes, planned to rush to the hospital on receipt of information. However, on the advice of senior police officials in view of the tense situation at the hospital premises and also in view of security concerns, they proceeded to Secretariat and held high-level meeting with senior officials about the measures being taken to maintain law and order in the State capital. They telephoned to the hospital authorities and inquired about the condition of the two inured legislators.
After high-level meeting with his Cabinet colleagues and the police, the Chief Minister and the Home Minister along with a few cabinet colleagues drove from Secretariat to the hospital.
Preliminary inquiries revealed that Mohammad Pahelwan was once a close associate of Akbaruddin Owaisi and took active role in the MIM affairs. He had even tried to secure MIM ticket in the past for contesting the elections. However, the relationship between Akbaruddin Owaisi and Pahelwan soured two years back over some land disputes as the former became a hammer in the wheel for the latter’s dubious land grabbing dealings. What is more, Pahelwan joined the rival MBT party and canvassed against MIM in the last elections. (NSS).