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Restrictions on Owaisi for Pune rally

The Maharashtra Police have slapped stringent conditions on All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen president Asaduddin Owaisi for his proposed public meeting on Muslim reservation here Wednesday evening.

A notice was handed over to the Lok Sabha member from Hyderabad, signed by Assistant Commissioner of Police (Vanvadi Division) Rajan R. Bhogale, when Owaisi was scheduled to address a press conference ahead of his public rally.

Among other things, he has been directed to speak at the ‘Muslim Arakshan Parishad’ meeting organised by the Maharashtra and Mulnivasi Muslim Manch in a closed hall with a restricted audience strength of up to 2,000.

Virtually gagging Owaisi, police asked him to refrain from making any provocative statement which can create religious, linguistic or communal tension during his speech as the chief guest at the conference.

The media has also been barred from making any live telecast of the event at the Kausarbaug Hall in Kondhwa area.

Owaisi is understood to have signed a statement expressing his willingness to abide by the police directives.

Commissioner of Police Satish Mathur made it clear that the organisers would be held responsible if the situation goes out of control and this has been stated in the notice.

In his brief interaction with the media, Owaisi said he was accustomed to notices of bans or gags, but said this was an “unhealthy democratic practice”.

However, he said if police did not permit the rally to be held, he would return to Hyderabad without any fuss as he had no intention of inciting communal passion or hurting religious sentiments.

Recently, following objections from the Pune Cantonment Board and local Shiv Sena chief Vinayak Nimhan, permission to hold the rally at an open venue, Golibar Maidan, was denied.

The Shiv Sena stuck to its stand of opposing Owaisi’s speech and a large number of activists Wednesday gathered outside the Kauserbaug Hall even as police were deployed in large numbers.

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