Hyderabad leader Owaisi attacked by rivals
Hyderabad: A senior Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (MIM) leader, Akbaruddin Owaisi, was critically injured on Saturday when his political opponents opened fire at him and attacked him with sharp weapons. The MLA is fighting for his life in the Owaisi Super Speciality Hospital.
Three others, including another MIM legislator Ahmad Balala, were also injured in the incident which left the city shocked and tense.
Police confirmed that one of the assailants, Ebrahim Yafai, was killed when Balala's gunman opened fire on them. Two more assailants were seriously injured and were undergoing treatment at Yashoda Hospital.
Owaisi was rushed to his own hospital where doctors operated upon him and removed three bullets from his body. One bullet is yet to be removed. Doctors have described 35-year-old Owaisi's condition as serious but stable.
"None of his vital organs were hit by the bullets. Doctors have told us that he is stable," said state Home Minister P. Sabita Indra Reddy who visited Owaisi along with Chief Minister Kiran Kumar Reddy. Principal Secretary of Medical and Health P.V. Ramesh was coordinating with the doctors.
Hyderabad Police Commissioner A.K. Khan said that the attack took place at around 11.15am when the MLAs were visiting Barkas locality in Owaisi's Chandrayangutta constituency after inaugurating government programmes.
"As Owaisi sat in his vehicle, 15 armed people surrounded him and started attacking him. Some of them opened fire and others attacked him with knives," said an eyewitness.
When Balala tried to save Owaisi, he was also attacked. His gunman opened fire injuring the assailants.
Several bullets hit the vehicles of Owaisi and Balala and both the vehicles were smeared with blood. Police recovered some bullets and a large knife from the scene of the incident.
As usual Owaisi did not have any armed guards with him. From the time of his father, the late Salahuddin Owaisi, MIM leaders are known to go around without any security.
Owaisi's elder brother, MIM president and member of Lok Sabha from Hyderabad, Asaduddin, flew from New Delhi on hearing about the incident.
Police suspect that the leader of the rival Majlis Bachao Tehreek (MBT), Mohammad Pehlwan, was involved in the incident. Pehlwan, who was earlier in the MIM, had switched his loyalties to the rival party.
Police officials said that Pehlwan had a grudge against Owaisi as he was campaigning against the encroachment on Waqf and government land. "This could be the reason for the enmity and the attack," said the home minister.
Pehlwan admitted his relatives and supporters were responsible for the attack and said that one of his nephews, Ebrahim Yafai, had died in the incident. He alleged that Owaisi was trying to snatch his family's land.
As the news of the attack spread, thousands of supporters of Owaisi started gathering at the hospital. Tension and panic gripped the city and shop owners dropped shutters.
Some MIM supporters started attacking shops and business establishments belonging to the leaders and supporters of MBT.
Director General of Police K. Aravinda Rao, who also visited the scene of the attack, said that the situation was under control and sufficient securitymen, including companies of AP Special Police and Rapid Action Force, were deployed in the city.