Hyderabad, Feb 19 (INN): Bengaluru City Police on Thursday served a notice on AIMIM president and Hyderabad MP Asaduddin Owaisi prohibiting his entry into the Police Commissionerate limits of Bengaluru City for seven days from 19th to 25th February.
It may be recalled that the AIMIM had rescheduled its public meeting at Chota Maidan at Shivajinagar in Bengaluru City on 21st February which was to be addressed by Asaduddin Owaisi and other AIMIM leaders. Earlier, the Bengaluru Police had granted permission for conduct of public meeting on 8th February and the permission was later withdrawn.
The AIMIM had challenged this in the Karnataka High Court. Subsequently, the Bengaluru Police told the court that they would allow the AIMIM meeting if the party made an application to the DCP, East Division. Thereafter, the AIMIM approached the DCP, East Division, for permission to conduct a meeting on 21stFebruary.
However, on Thursday, a police team from Bengaluru visited AIMIM headquarters at Darussalam in Hyderabad and served the notice on behalf of Bengaluru City Police Commissioner MN Reddi on Barrister Asaduddin Owaisi.
The Commissioner said that in exercise of the powers vested in him under Section 144 (3) of the Criminal Procedure Code, he was imposing prohibitory orders banning the entry of Asaduddin Owaisi in Bengaluru city and restraining him from participating in and or speaking at any public meeting/function directly or through audio-visual or any other media in Bengaluru City for a period of seven days from 19th to 25th February.
Responding to the notice, Asaduddin Owaisi said that he would challenge the notice from Bengaluru Police in the courts of law since it sought to interfere with the Right of Freedom of Expression under Article 25 of the Constitution. He said that he would continue to exercise his Freedom of Expression and would criticise Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the Chief Minister of Karnataka Siddaramaiah.
He said the contents of the notice served on him were completely biased and based on “untruthfulness.” He said that he would continue to strive for the rights of minorities, weaker sections and backward classes “till I live.” He would raise these issues in public meetings and in his capacity as a Parliamentarian.
“The notice has pained me as an Indian who can speak in Parliament but not in Bengaluru City. Insha Allah that day is not far off when my views will be heard in Bengaluru City,” he added.
Referring to the cases cited against him in the notice, he said that “I have cases against me and I am innocent until proven guilty. I am sure that the courts will do justice to me.”
He asked the Bengaluru Police Commissioner to go through the judgments of the Supreme Court that Freedom to Propagate and Freedom of Expression are a fundamental right. He also asked the officer to read about Islam to dispel any misconceptions. He charged that the notice was a convenient device to “stop my party from strengthening its base before the Bengaluru Municipal elections (slated later this year). I will criticise the ruling party in Karnataka for their anti-people policies and if Allah Almighty wants, people will accept my views or reject these as this is the beauty of democracy.”
Barrister Owaisi said that the Commissioner, without giving time to hear him out, had passed ex-parte orders. “As a citizen of India, I accept your notice but reject its contentions. I pray to Allah Almighty for an everlasting peace and tranquility in Bengaluru city. May the City prosper more and may the City be free from the Dictators (Amen),” he said.
The Commissioner had claimed that Asaduddin Owaisi had “lashed out at the well-known actor Salman Khan for joining Narendra Modi at a kite-flying ceremony in Ahmedabad, during a speech on 24th January 2015, using caustic words.” Reacting to this reference, Mr Owaisi quipped, “Sir, it seems that you are a fan of Actor Salman Khan and don’t want any criticism against him.”
The Commissioner also took exception to Asaduddin Owaisi’s criticism of Yoga Guru Baba Ramdev. To this, Owaisi quipped: “You feel that I cannot criticise Baba Ramdev.”