Abu Asim Azmi

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Abu Asim Azmi
Abu Asim Azmi (enhanced).jpg
Abu Azmi campaigning in Mumbai
Personal details
Born (1955-08-08) August 8, 1955 (age 58)
Political party Samajwadi Party


Abu Asim Azmi born 8 August 1955, is the state president of the Maharashtra Samajwadi Party.[1] He represented Uttar Pradesh in the Rajya Sabha, the upper house of the Indian Parliament from November 2002- Nov 2008.[2]

Currently he is a Member of the Maharashtra Legislative Assembly representing Mankhurd Shivaji Nagar in Mumbai Suburban District.

Political life[edit]

Abu Asim Azmi is a politician from the Indian state of Maharashtra. He is the president of Maharashtra unit of the Samajwadi Party. Azmi has served a term as a Member of Parliament of Rajya Sabha representing Uttar Pradesh from November 2002 to 2008.

Hailing from Manjir Patti area of Azamgarh district in UP, Azmi was elected as a Member of Maharashtra Assembly from two segments during the 2009 Maharashtra assembly elections namely Mankhurd-Shivaji Nagar and Bhiwandi (East), which he vacated later as the election rules don't permit one individual to represent two seats at a time. He had earlier made several unsuccessful attempts to enter the Vidhan Sabha as well as Lok Sabha (Lower House).

In 2004 contesting elections for the first time in his political career, he had lost to Shiv Sena's Yogesh Patil from Bhiwandi assembly constituency. He again lost 2009 Lok Sabha elections where he was pitted against Congress' Gurudas Kamat, Shiv Sena's Gajanan Kirtikar and Maharashtra Navnirman Sena's Shalini Thakrey from Mumbai North West Lok Sabha constituency.

A successful businessman,once he was arrested for the 6 March 1993 bomb blasts, which killed more than 250 people. The Mumbai Police had alleged that he was complicit with the perpetrators of the bomb blast by helping them flee the country through his travel agency.However after spending a year in jail,he got acquitted of all the charges. Then Azmi entered politics and joined Samajwadi Party.

He gained popularity , particularly among the people hailing from UP .His party won two assembly seats under his leadership during the 1995 Assembly elections in spite of a saffron wave in the aftermath of 1992 riots.His political rallies attract good crowds particularly in Muslim pockets in Mumbai and Thane, but these have hardly resulted into meaningful political gains as the party continues to remain a marginal player in the state. Azmi has still managed to strike a chord with Muslims even as he gains popularity in other parts of the state.

All through his career, Azmi's pet issues were the harassment of Muslim youths in the wake of several blasts in Mumbai. He raised the issue of investigation in the case of Mumbra girl Ishrat Jahan, who was killed in an encounter by Gujarat police on the outskirts of Ahmedabad on the allegations that she was along with her alleged Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT) operatives planning to Kill Gujarat CM Narendra Modi.

During his journey as a politician, Azmi continued raising issues like custodial death of Khwaja Yunus, a 27-year-old engineer and an accused in the Ghatkopar blasts of 2002, who was allegedly killed during police custody in January 2003. He has also been campaigning for the release of innocent Muslim youths arrested in the Malegaon blast case. He has been criticised by political parties of all hues for his controversial stands, however Mr Azmi has remained defiant in spite of all criticism. Recently, he had ruffled quite a few feathers when he called for an inquiry into the alleged custodial death of 39-year-old man, Faiz Ahmed Aziz Usmani, who was picked by crime branch in questioning for 13/7 triple blast which had rocked Mumbai.

Away from the Muslim issues, he started taking on the Shiv Sena and MNS for harassing North Indians. Both Shiv Sena and MNS in particular have been baying for his blood for his stand on North Indians with the MNS taking its enmity further when its legislators assaulted him in the Vidhan Sabha for taking oath in Hindi. The four MNS MLA's — Ram Kadam, late Ramesh Wanjale, Shishir Shinde and Vasant Gite, had to face four-year suspension from the Assembly for attacking Azmi, however political compulsions later made the State government to revoke the suspension.

He is officially the richest elected representative of Maharashtra with cash and assets worth Rs 126 crore (Rs 1.26 billion). Incidentally, his constituency, Mankhurd-Shivaji Nagar, consists of poorest of the poor in Mumbai.

On 30 April 2012 a Mazgaon metropolitan magistrate's court convicted and sentenced Azmi and four others to two years in jail for allegedly giving provocative speeches to incite communal violence 12 years back. The case dates back to year 2000 when Azmi had allegedly given a provocative speech at Nagpada in South Mumbai against Shiv Sena supremo Bal Thackeray and former Shiv Sena leader Narayan Rane.

Personal life[edit]

Abu Asim Azmi was born in Azamgarh district, Uttar Pradesh, India. He has a son named Farhan Azmi who is married to Bollywood actress, Ayesha Takia. In 2009, he declared his assets exceeding Rs. 100 Crores.[3]

Controversies[edit]

In 2012, a Metropolitan magistrate court in Mumbai convicted Azmi over a provocative speech he made at a rally in Mastan Talao, Nagpada on February 24, 2000. According to the prosecution, Azmi had allegedly said that, “If Islam were to be attacked, he would not be bothered if India was to face another partition.”[4]

Abu Azmi had been under fire for his comments on legalization of illegal slums formed after 2000.

In January 2013, Abu Azmi faced strong criticism on his views on increase in rape cases in India. Abu Azmi caused a furore by saying that young women who go out skimpily dressed attract attention and face risks. "Such nudity must be banned. The censor board must not clear movies having explicit scenes which embarrass families watching them together,"[5] he said. Following this his son Farhan Azmi and daughter in law Ayesha Takia distanced themselves from Mr. Azmi's comments by saying "For the first time, I felt the person making those statements is not my dad,".[6] and "Comments made by anyone, even someone close to me, when they are regressive, they do not reflect my thoughts and mindset. I'm an individual and have my own mentality which doesn't match any regressive way of thinking at all!".[7]

He also had generated controversy when he took his oath in Hindi instead of Marathi and was slapped [8] by fellow legislators (mainly from Maharashtra Navnirman Sena) while doing so.[9]

In April 2014, he sparked media outrage when he spoke that women, having sex consensual or non-consensual outside marriage must be hanged. His argument was that it is difficult to differentiate between rape and consensual sex and is prone to blackmailing. He cited Islam for hanging both boy and girl in case of rape.[10] His Statement was condemned by Activists and Political Parties alike. His son Farhan Azmi and daughter in Law Ayesha Takia also spoke against his remarks and distanced themselves from his opinion.[11]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "MAKING A BUSINESS OUT OF POLITICS". Calcutta, India: The Telegraph. 2004-11-16. Archived from the original on 30 January 2010. Retrieved 2010-01-23. 
  2. ^ "Rajya Sabha Members". Rajya Sabha Secretariat, New delhi. Archived from the original on 9 January 2010. Retrieved 2009-12-30. 
  3. ^ "Abu Azmi has assets of over Rs.100 crore". Chennai, India: The Hindu. 2009-04-07. Retrieved 2009-11-09. 
  4. ^ "12 years on, Abu Azmi convicted for provocative speech". Indianexpress.com. Retrieved 2013-01-10. 
  5. ^ "Won't apologise, says Abu Azmi, women must be escorted by male relatives". NDTV.com. Retrieved 2013-01-10. 
  6. ^ Posted by: Maitreyee (2009-12-18). "Abu Azmi's son ditches him, disagrees with his sexist remarks". News.oneindia.in. Retrieved 2013-01-10. 
  7. ^ "Abu Azmi's son regrets his comments on women". NDTV.com. Retrieved 2013-01-10. 
  8. ^ "Abu Azmi slapped by MNS MLA for taking oath in Hindi". Retrieved 2013-05-16. 
  9. ^ "Samajawadi Party to felicitate Azmi for taking oath in Hindi". The Times of India. 2009-11-14. Retrieved 2010-01-23. 
  10. ^ NDTV, NDTV (11/4/2014). "Women should be hanged on being raped". NDTV. 
  11. ^ "Ayesha Takia condemns Father-In-Law Abu Azmi’s Rape Statements". IANS. news.biharprabha.com. Retrieved 11 April 2014. 

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