Tension in Hyderabad as legislator opens fire

July 26th, 2008 - 4:42 pm ICT by IANS  

A file-photo of Taslima Nasreen

Hyderabad, July 26 (IANS) Tension prevailed in the Andhra Pradesh capital Saturday as a legislator was arrested for firing in the air to stop municipal authorities from demolishing illegal structures. The arrest of Afsar Khan, who belongs to the Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (MIM), sparked unrest in Abids, an upscale commercial area in the heart of the city, and led to a massive traffic jam in the city centre.

Police said Khan opened fire from his licensed revolver when officials of Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) were demolishing an illegal structure on Chappel Road in Abids.

The legislator, who represents Karwan assembly constituency in Hyderabad, protested the GHMC’s action and wanted the officials to stop the demolition immediately. As the officials continued their work, he whipped out his revolver and opened fire, creating panic among the GHMC personnel.

Police arrested Khan as employees of GHMC’s town planning wing took to the streets and staged a sit-in to demand action against him.

Tension prevailed in the area as a large number of MIM workers sat outside Abids police station to demand the legislator’s release. MIM floor leader in the assembly Akbaruddin Owaisi and three other party legislators also rushed to the police station demanding Khan’s release.

The protest led to a huge traffic jam in the busy area as MIM workers also forced shops to down shutters. Hundreds of vehicles were caught in the nearly five-kilometre-long traffic snarl.

MIM leaders said that Khan rushed to the scene after some GHMC employees manhandled another party legislator Moazzam Khan, who along with his supporters, tried to stop the demolition.

However, GHMC employees alleged that the MIM legislators manhandled them and prevented them from doing their duty.

Khan was also involved in the attack on controversial Bangladeshi writer Taslima Nasreen during a book release function here last year.

MIM has five legislators from the Muslim-majority old city area. It also represents Hyderabad Lok Sabha constituency.

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