Behind Akbaruddin Owaisi attack, property rows, land deals

Not many people in the old city of Hyderabad were surprised when Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (MIM) legislator Akbaruddin Owaisi was attacked on April 30, leaving him to battle for his life in hospital. He is, according to doctors, now out of danger and taken off ventilator.

The MIM has seven MLAs in the Andhra Pradesh Assembly. Since May 2009, after all of them were re-elected, the police started receiving complaints from people alleging coercion, intimidation and threats from aides or goons of MIM MLAs, including Akbaruddin Owaisi (Chandrayangutta), Mohammed Bhalala (Malakpet), Mohammed Muqtada Khan (Karwan),Mumtaz Ahmed Khan (Yakutpura) and Mohammed Moazam Khan (Bahdurpura) regarding land and property issues.

The police say the MLAs are involved in every major land deal, settling property disputes and land-grabbing in the seven Assembly constituencies controlled by MIM. This has created sharp divisions within the MIM and leaders like Akbaruddin Owaisi have made a number of enemies.

"In old city of Hyderabad, you cannot sell or buy even 100 sq yards of land without the MIM's intervention. If anyone tries to do it on his own, he would be threatened and intimidated into giving MIM its share," says Municipal Councillor Amjed Ullah Khan, Azampura Division.

The police have received at least 57 complaints of intimidation and threats against MIM MLAs or their supporters.

According to an official, MIM MLAs are into land deals and settlement of property disputes but there is also an element of coercion forcing people to sell their land or property.

"The most commonly used modus operandi is to identify the property and request the owner to sell it to them at the rates they decide. If the owner refuses, they try to coerce and if that does not work, they threaten him that they will get the property declared as Wakf Board property which he encroached. Nine out of 10 times, the owners are forced to agree," the official said.

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