AIMIM chief and MP Asaduddin Owaisi has been denied permission to hold a public rally in one of the wards of the city ahead of the February 21 municipal election. The Khadak police station denied the permission citing that the area (which was identified by AIMIM for the rally) was “sensitive” because of its mix population and since Owaisi’s speeches were “inciting” and “communal” in nature, there could be a threat to his life.
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AIMIM has fielded 25 candidates for the poll to Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC). “Keeping in view the law and order situation, the permission cannot be granted to the rally,” stated the letter by Khadak police to party’s city unit.
The city unit of AIMIM had sought permission to hold a rally in Seven Loves Chowk on February 14.
“Yesterday, we received a letter from Khadak police station in which police informed us that the permission to hold a rally in the area had been denied,” said AIMIM’s Pune city unit chief Anjum Inamdar.
He alleged that “police’s view is biased in nature and his party condemns such a view”.
Inamdar said Owaisi has so far addressed over 60 rallies in Maharashtra as well as poll-bound Uttar Pradesh, however, “there is not a single incident where any controversy happened due to his speeches”.
“The allegations of police about communal and inciting speeches are unacceptable and we will soon seek legal action against the police officer,” said Inamdar.
He alleged that police were “partial” in their approach and it was a clear cut case of violation of freedom of speech.
“This is the same place where Congress state president and former Maharashtra chief minister Ashok Chavan held a rally last month, however, no objection was taken by the authorities,” the AIMIM leader alleged.
However, Raghunath Jadhav, senior police inspector of Khadak police station, said the place identified by AIMIM was congested and not even 500 people could gather over there.
“Since over 10,000 people are expected to come to the rally, there could be law and order situation, so we have asked them to identify a bigger place such as a ground where large number of people can be accommodated,” said Jadhav.
Inamdar said they would soon meet the senior officials of Pune police and were also hunting for more venues.
“We are finalising on new places but one thing is sure that the rally would take place on February 14,” he said. Meanwhile, Owaisi, in a tweet said, “2 years ago I addressed a public meeting and it was successful… now suddenly I am being denied permission, this is not FAIR.”
He further requested the police to grant him the required permission. “@PuneCityPolice give permission, impose conditions and if I violate any, arrest me.. I don’t take security, you provide me,” the AIMIM chief said in another tweet.