Owaisi rejects Z category security a day after attack

Home ministry officials said the AIMIM chief\'s threat perception was assessed afresh after Thursday evening’s incident

New Delhi: Hyderabad MP Asaduddin Owaisi was offered Z category security on Friday, a day after shots were fired at his car in western Uttar Pradesh, but the Muslim leader rejected it and asked the government to instead make him an “A category” citizen “at par” with all.

Speaking in the Lok Sabha, Owaisi, who last evening asked the Election Commission to ensure an independent probe into the incident, also urged the government to charge those who attacked him with stringent provisions of the UAPA and made an appeal to end radicalisation in the country.

Home ministry officials said the All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) chief's threat perception was assessed afresh after Thursday evening’s incident in Hapur while he was returning to Delhi after campaigning for the elections beginning February 10. Two people, one from Gautam Buddh Nagar and the other from Saharanpur in western Uttar Pradesh, have been arrested and charged with attempt to murder.

Owaisi said in Parliament he did not want round-the-clock protection by CRPF commandos extended to him by the government. “I don’t want Z category security. I want to be an A category citizen, at par with you all. Why was UAPA (Unlawful Activities Prevention Act) not invoked against those who fired at me? ... I want to live, to speak. My life will be safe when the poor are safe. I will not get scared of those who shot at my car,” he said in the Lok Sabha.

Owaisi also asked the government to invoke UAPA against those who are behind radicalism in the country.

"Who are these people who believe in bullet and not ballot? Who are these people who have been so radicalised that they don't have confidence in the Constitution? They have so much hatred," Mr Owaisi said in Parliament.

Owaisi said that in 2015 he had asked the government that in the internal security department of MHA there should be a deradicalisation cell for all religions. He said radicalisation will increase right-wing communalism and terrorism in India. "Those people who have done radicalisation, why don't you impose UAPA on them? I am not afraid of death," he said.

No one was injured in the attack on Thursday evening, a week before Assembly elections in the state begin.

Under 'Z' category security, the second highest, about 16-20 paramilitary commandos are deployed for 24x7 security. An escort, as well as a pilot vehicle, accompanies VIP when he travels by road and a guard is stationed at their home.

Commerce minister Piyush Goyal said Union home minister Amit Shah will make a statement in the House on the matter on Monday.

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