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'Hate speech' politician held

HYDERABAD: Police say they have arrested a Muslim legislator in a southern Indian state for making inflammatory speeches against majority Hindus.

Police officer A B Venkateshwar Rao says Akbaruddin Owaisi, was arrested yesterday in Hyderabad, the capital of Andhra Pradesh state.

In speeches three weeks earlier Owaisi reportedly accused police of bias against Muslims, denigrated Hindu gods and said Muslims could teach the rest of the country a lesson.

Owaisi, the leader of Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen, or the Council of the Union of Muslims, left for London after his remarks and returned to India on Monday.

He was arrested after doctors said that hospital tests proved that there were no medical grounds to prevent police from holding him.

Police charged Owaisi with threatening the security of the nation and promoting enmity between Hindus and Muslims.

He faces a possible death sentence if convicted.

Muslims comprise about 14 per cent of India's more than a billion people.

Several cases have been filed against Owaisi for anti-Hindu comments he allegedly made in the speeches. Some of the comments were recorded last month and posted online.

Police have charged him with threatening the security of India and with promoting hostilities between Hindus and Muslims.

Reports said that the authorities in Andhra Pradesh have been criticised for not taking action against Owaisi earlier.



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