Hyderabad MP Asaduddin Owaisi’s official residence in New Delhi’s high-security Ashoka Road area was vandalised on Tuesday by a group of Hindu Sena men who damaged the door and windows, broke the nameplate, hurled an axe at the house and called the Parliamentarian a “jihadi”.
Five men were arrested from the scene, police said.
“We picked them up from the spot and they claimed during initial questioning that they were agitated with his (Owaisi’s) comments. We are questioning them further,” DCP (New Delhi district) Deepak Yadav told The Indian Express.
All five men are residents of Northeast Delhi’s Mandoli area, Yadav said.
A senior police officer said, “The men claim they work for the Hindu Sena in Delhi. They said they heard Owaisi’s recent speeches, and believed he had made ‘anti-Hindu’ remarks.”
Speaking to The Indian Express, Owaisi, chief of the All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM), said this is not the first time that his residence has come under attack. He said he will write to Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla drawing his attention to the repeated attacks.
“This is all because of the bigotry and hate atmosphere which has been created in the country. You protest but why vandalise? Jantar Mantar is just 200 metres away. They can protest there. Who is stopping you? These are not fringe elements. These are the main elements of the Hindutva brigade. It is for the government to put an end. It is only the government which can put a full stop on this radicalisation,” he said.
“I am used to all these things. I have been seeing this for a very long time. It is shocking that in a highly secure zone, people are so emboldened that they do this… record it… this is a classic case of radicalisation. They have been doing it since 2015… These attacks will not stop me from doing what I am doing…,” he added.
In a series of tweets, he said the caretaker of his residence had been attacked, and that the men had shouted communal slogans.
A video of the incident posted on Facebook by a passerby showed 6-7 men gathered outside Owaisi’s residence, raising slogans. The men are seen picking up sticks and breaking the nameplate, a tubelight, and some windows of the house.
One of the men is heard calling Owaisi a “jihadi”, and alleging that the MP and his brother have been making anti-Hindu speeches. “Main Asad Owaisi jihadi ke paas aaya hoon usko sabak sikhane (I have come to teach the jihadi Asad Owaisi a lesson)… Jai Shi Ram,” the man says.
Two men can be seen breaking the nameplates with axes, while others throw stones at the house. One of the men is seen hurling an axe inside the gate.
During a visit to Ahmedabad on Monday, Owaisi had criticised Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister’s Yogi Adityanath’s remark that government benefits under earlier regimes were garnered by those who say “abba jaan”.
On Tuesday, Owaisi told reporters in Lucknow, “These people (accused) are being radicalised and the BJP is responsible for this. If a parliamentarian’s house is being vandalised, then what message is being sent?”
On Twitter, the MP said: “My Delhi residence was vandalised today by radicalised goons. Their cowardice is well known and as usual they came in a mob, not alone. They also chose a time when I was not home. They were armed with axes and sticks, they pelted stones at my house, my nameplate was destroyed. Raju, the caretaker of the house for the last 40 years, was assaulted. The mob shouted communal slogans and threatened to kill me. Raju’s grandkids are living in fear now. Raju has filed a complaint with police. Hope action will be taken.”
He further wrote: “There were at least 13 people, 6 have been detained. This is the third time that my residence has been attacked. Last time it was vandalised. Rajnath Singh was not only the Home Minister but also my neighbour. Election Commission HQ is right next door to my house, Parliament Street police station is right across my house. The Prime Minister’s residence is 8 minutes away. If an MP’s house is not safe, then what message is Amit Shah sending?”
Tagging the Prime Minister’s Office, he wrote: “PMO India preaches to the world how we must fight radicalisation, please tell who radicalised these goons? If these thugs think that this is going to scare me, they don’t know Majlis and what we are made of. We’ll never stop our fight for justice.”
Senior Delhi Police officers said there was no mention of anyone being assaulted in the complaint.
Vishnu Gupta, national president of the Hindu Sena, acknowledged that the five men were “activists” of the outfit. “We have come to know that they vandalised Owaisi’s house. I am against the attack but Owaisi should also not make anti-Hindu speeches. I found that the men were hurt because Owaisi and his brother have been making anti-Hindu speeches to impress Muslims. Their speeches are provocative and I support the activists for raising their voices and protesting. I also respect the police and laws and accept the punishment…,” he said
Police said they were alerted by a PCR call. “Police rushed to the spot and detained all the accused from the spot. By then, the men had damaged the entrance gate and windows of the house,” a senior police officer said.
This story first appeared on indianexpress.com