Andhra Minister C Adinarayana Reddy is facing fire from Dalit activists and opposition leaders, after he allegedly called members of Dalit and tribal communities ‘unclean’ and ‘uneducated’ in a speech on Independence Day.
Speaking at a hospital in Jammalamadugu in Kadapa district, the Marketing Minister made controversial statements about reservations, and allegedly said that members of Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe communities are responsible for their own backwardness, because they are not interested in education or hygiene.
In videos being circulated of the speech, the Minister is heard saying that reservations were only supposed to remain in existence for 10 years, but had continued far beyond the initial mandate.
“Ambedkar made reservations in the Constitution only for 10 years to uplift the downtrodden. Now, even after so many years reservations are continuing. In this society if there is somebody who is backward, it is only the SCs and STs. The reason for this is the SCs and STs themselves. They don’t study properly. They don’t have patta land and remain unclean,” the minister allegedly remarked.
The Minister’s statements were met with vocal protests by several Dalit groups, who demanded that he be sacked and booked under the SC/ST Prevention of Atrocities Act. Political leaders cutting across party lines also unequivocally condemned the Minister’s remarks and demand that Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu remove him from his post.
Asking the minister to immediately withdraw his remarks and tender an unconditional apology, Chairman of the Congress SC cell, Korivi Vinay Kumar, said that the remarks reflected the current state of affairs, where Dalits are under attack.
BC Jana Sabha state President G Gangadhar condemned the Minister’s remarks as exposing the discrimination and social oppression prevailing against Dalits across the country.
However, following the protests, Minister Reddy claimed that the video being circulated has been distorted. He claimed that he only said that Dalits should study, and they should remain clean for the sake of their health.
The Minister also claimed that there was a threat to his life from YSR Congress Party chief, Jagan Mohan Reddy because he had defeated the YSRCP chief’s uncle YS Vivekananda Reddy in the last election.