The Guntur district police in Andhra Pradesh have arrested a supporter of YSR Congress President YS Jaganmohan Reddy on Thursday, after a video went viral on social media.
The police nabbed Tiyagura Venkat Reddy after his comments against actor-politician Pawan Kalyan went viral on the internet, and became the main topic of discussion on several Telugu TV channels.
"Pawan Kalyan. If you really are as big as you claim, we are ready. We are even ready to kill or die for Jagan anna. You dare not say anything against him. You are a child. You don't have the capacity to speak against Jagan," Venkat Reddy is seen saying in the video.
"You are a child, and you behave like a child. Don't try to fight with us. There are many people behind Jagan. You have a few hit films, but nothing else. You may think you are a hero, but that is not the case for us," he added.
The video had sparked controversy as it began circulating among Pawan Kalyan fans, who demanded an apology from Reddy for insulting the Jana Sena chief.
Before things could escalate further, the Guntur police swung into action and arrested Venkat Reddy.
Speaking to TNM, Guntur Urban SP Vijay Rao said, "As soon as the video went viral, and discussion on the video began to occur, it came to our attention, and we identified the accused."
The police said that Venkat Reddy was a history sheeter, and was already the accused in two murder cases.
"While one case, he has been acquitted, we are looking into the status of the other case," Rao said.
The police also made it clear that this was not a crackdown on freedom of expression.
"It is okay to speak against anyone you disagree with, but when the statement disrupts peace. the police will take strict action. If someone is trying to create some nuisance or law and order issues, or spark disputes between two groups, we will not tolerate it," Rao had told reporters on Thursday.
"For example, we don't know which group Venkat Reddy is associated with, but because of the things he said, it is presumed that it will disrupt peace, and we had to arrest him," he added.
"We can't abuse social media in this way, whether its Facebook or YouTube, to defame and insult someone else," he reiterated, while speaking to TNM.
Shortly before his arrest, photos of Venkat Reddy with Jagan himself, also started doing the rounds on social media.
When this reporter pointed out that Venkat Reddy seemed clearly drunk in the video, slurring through his sentences, Rao said, "That may have been the case, but he was still conscious. Therefore, we had no choice but to take action."
The police said that a case was registered under relevant sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and IT Act.
Neither the YSRCP nor the Jana Sena has issued a statement on the matter.