The answer to Owaisi
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Already a fringe figure, he must pay politically for his irresponsible speech
Andhra Pradesh MLA from the Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen party (MIM), Akbaruddin Owaisi, is now facing consequences for his rant against the Hindu community 10 days ago. Whatever the legal process decides on Owaisi's alleged hate speech, however, there is near-unanimity that his words were abhorrent, and do not belong in a civil or responsible public discourse.
The real punishment for this kind of extremist agenda will have to be a political one. Owaisi belongs to a small party, confined to old Hyderabad, whose stock in trade has been to play on the anxieties and insecurities of sections of the Muslim community. The MIM has spoken in a harsh and irresponsible language on matters that supposedly impact Muslim selfhood, from Taslima Nasreen to the recent violence in Assam. It had seemingly been forced to temper its stand when it was part of the UPA. Now, like other parties in post-YSR Andhra Pradesh, the MIM is also trying to politically differentiate itself and rally its base. It sees no reason to hold its tongue, especially after it parted ways with the Congress in November over a dispute about a temple neighbouring the Charminar in Hyderabad.