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Two held for threat calls to SP MLA Abu Azmi over his opposition to renaming Aurangabad, Osmanabad

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Mumbai Police have arrested two hawkers – one each from Nashik and Pune districts – for allegedly making threatening calls to Samajwadi Party MLA Abu Asim Azmi for opposing the Maharashtra government’s move to rename Aurangabad and Osmanabad districts, an official said on Thursday.

The first arrest in the case was made from Niphad in Nashik district on Tuesday. The accused, identified as Bhausaheb Sonawane (40), had made a call to Azmi and it was received by his personal assistant Kamal Hussain, he said.

In Pune, hawker Tanaji Yevate was nabbed from Haveli taluka on Thursday in this connection, the official said.

“Both the accused were upset after Azmi opposed the state government’s decision to rename Aurangabad and Osmanabad as Sambhajinagar and Dharashiv respectively. Both of them have been arrested under relevant sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), including 506 (2) (criminal intimidation), and they will remain in police custody till Friday,” he added.

Azmi’s PA had approached the police claiming that he had received the threatening phone calls over the legislator’s opposition to rename Aurangabad and Osmanabad. The callers had threatened to kill Azmi for his stand on the issue, an official had said on Monday.

Based on Hussain’s complaint, an FIR was registered at the Colaba police station in this connection.

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“As per his complaint, the callers wanted to speak to Azmi, but Hussain refused to pass on the phone to the MLA. The callers said Azmi must not speak on the renaming issue,” he added.

Hours before Shiv Sena president Uddhav Thackeray resigned as Maharashtra chief minister on June 29, the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) cabinet, which also included Congress and NCP ministers, approved the renaming of Aurangabad as Sambhajinagar and Osmanabad as Dharashiv.

Speaking during a special session of the Maharashtra Assembly on Sunday, Azmi had objected to the move, saying that such steps are a challenge to the Constitution.

“You should focus on the Constitution instead of the majority alone. Can anyone guarantee that by changing the name of the city, all of its issues are resolved? If development is taking place by simply changing the name then I do not have any issues. But what message this (erstwhile MVA) government is giving by changing only Muslim names?” he had said in the House.

Azmi represents Mankhurd Shivaji Nagar Assembly constituency in Mumbai.

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