Although MIM MLA Akbaruddin Owaisi is notorious for delivering hate speeches, this time he could have gone too far. While one Old City TV channel reportedly owned by some MIM leaders telecast Akbaruddin's speech live and later uploaded it on its website and thus unwittingly did in the legislator, the Election Commission of India could take cognizance of the speech and there is a possibility of the Owaisi scion finding himself debarred from contesting elections, felt political leaders and activists of various groups in the city.
Thanks to the overzealous Old City TV channel, the December 24 speech of Akbaruddin in Nirmal, Adilabad district, about 200 km from Hyderabad, went viral on the internet and attracted condemnation from different sections of society from across the country. Panelists on different national and local TV channels and the 'twitterati' unanimously deplored the speech and are calling for stringent action against him.
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In the meantime, things went out of hand when starting with BJP lawyer-functionary Kashimshetty Karuna Sagar who filed a petition in court seeking action against the MLA, many others followed suit in dragging Akbaruddin to court.
According to one analyst, there is the possibility of the EC taking cognizance of the speech. "If that happens, then Akbaruddin could be debarred from fighting elections," he said.
Another said that Akbaruddin's speech brought to the fore the subject of 'minority communalism' which is symptomatic of the deep communal malaise in the country that has remained unaddressed for decades. "The minority communalism cannot be an answer to the majority communalism. If any of the two is encouraged, the biggest losers will be the people of India," said senior Congress leader Zafar Javeed. While being unsparingly critical of Akbaruddin, many caution against projecting him as 'the leader' of the Muslims in Andhra Pradesh or elsewhere. They claim that he represents only a section in his Majlis party. Mazher Hussain, a social and human rights activist, said that the police that have taken about 10 days to book cases against Akbaruddin said
should be serious in its investigation. "There are laws in the country which, if implemented properly, would take care of such incidents. What is required of the civil society is to keep up the pressure on the political parties and their leaders not to allow communalism to decide the fate of the nation," he said.
By crossing all lines of law and parliamentary norms Akbaruddin might have thought that his words would consolidate his Muslim vote bank. "He is seriously mistaken. Many of his Muslim voters would be ill at ease to support him or his party after the Nirmal speech," he added.
According to sources, the MIM leadership, reeling under the avalanche of criticism, has realized that the speech was a serious mistake. The game plan now is to tell its constituents that there is no dilution of its policy to broaden its base by taking the dalits and other marginalized sections in its fold.