The state government has refused permission to a rally by All India Majlis e Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) chief Asaduddin Owaisi on April 26 in Allahabad.
Allahabad district magistrate Bhavnath Singh said: “We have rejected AIMIM’s request due to two reasons. They had sought permission for two locations but both of them are on the road leading to the railway station. A large number of vehicles and people take that road and I can’t allow the traffic to be disrupted. The guidelines for holding rallies clearly say that the road should not be blocked.”
He added: “Secondly, both the proposed locations have a mixed population comprising Hindus and Muslims. In the past, he (Owaisi) has given inflammatory speeches. Considering the possibility of breach of peace, we can’t give permission for the rally.”
AIMIM had been granted permission for a rally in Allahabad on March 15, but it was later cancelled with the administration citing “opposition by the local public”, and “board examinations” as reasons.
AIMIM’s Allahabad convenor Afsar Mahmood then approached the High Court, which on April 16 asked the DM to decide within five days on AIMIM’s application, seeking permission to hold a rally in either Kareli or in Khuldabad. “The High Court had given us five days to respond, but we rejected it within a couple of days,” the DM said.
AIMIM has been denied permission to hold rallies several times in the recent past–on February 1, April 25 and June 12, 2014 in Azamgarh, on September 7, 2014 and March, 2015 in Allahabad and on March 29 in Agra.
AIMIM state convenor Shaukat Ali said the state government is insecure about its vote bank. “Our MP can speak in the Parliament but not in a public rally? If his past comments have been so ‘inflammatory’, then why did EC allow AIMIM to hold rallies ahead of the recent Maharashtra by-polls?” he said.
The party’s Allahabad convenor Afsar Mahmood alleged that the administration is working on the instructions of Samajwadi Party. “There is no substantial reason to keep denying permission. The SP makes certain things a prestige issue, be it transfer of an SSP or removal of UPPSC chief Anil Yadav. The government is acting in a biased manner since SP knows they won’t be returning to power in 2017.”
He said AIMIM would again appeal in the High Court. In its April 16 order, the High Court had not adjudicated on the merits of the case and had directed the DM instead.
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