Hyderabad, Sept.30 : One of India's prominent Muslim leaders and Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (MIM) president Sultan Salahuddin Owaisi died here on Monday night after a prolonged illness. He was 76.
Owaisi was admitted to a private hospital on September 13 with breathing problems and had been on a ventilator since then. e breathed his last at around 9 p.m. at his residence in Hyderguda, a few hours after he was shifted from hospital, his son and Hyderabad MP Asaduddin Owaisi said.
He is survived by his wife, three sons and a daughter.
His body will be kept at Darussalam, the MIM headquarters, Tuesday morning to enable people to pay their last respects. The burial will take place at the Dargah Hazrat Mohammed Hasan graveyard near the party office.
The Andhra Pradesh government has decided to accord state funeral to Owaisi who was the senior most Parliamentarian from Andhra Pradesh. The State's Power and Minority Welfare Minister Mohammed Ali Shabbir announced an official holiday in Hyderabad on Tuesday in view of the funeral.
Hundreds of people gathered at the Owaisi residence to have a last glimpse of the man who single handedly changed the course of Hyderabad politics for more than four decades.
Shops in the walled city of Hyderabad downed shutters on hearing the news of Owaisi's death. Police have beefed up security as a precautionary measure.
Chief Minister Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy has flown back from Delhi to attend the funeral. Leader of Opposition N. Chandrababu Naidu, who was away in Chittoor will also attend the funeral.
Owaisi was popularly known as 'Salare-e-Millat', (commander of the community) and represented the Hyderabad Lok Sabha constituency for two decades. He was first elected to parliament in 1984 and re-elected in 1989, 1991, 1996, 1998 and 1999.
Owaisi began his political career in his youth and was first elected to the state legislative assembly in 1962. He continued to be a state legislator till he was elected to parliament.
MIM has one MP and five state legislators from the old city, where Muslims are an overwhelming majority.
The MIM executive has unanimously elected Asaduddin Owaisi as its new president.