A software engineer from Hyderabad was arrested by the Andhra Pradesh police on Thursday, for posting a TikTok video where he allegedly made abusive comments against YSRCP MLA Pinnelli Ramakrishna Reddy.
The accused has been identified as 24-year-old Avinash Chowdary, who worked for a multinational corporation in Hyderabad and was staying at Kukatpally. He was arrested by Guntur district's Macherla police and was reported to be a supporter of the opposition Telugu Desam Party (TDP).
Ramakrishna Reddy, who is the legislator from Macherla, was attacked by unidentified protesters on NH16 in Guntur on Monday, as a group pelted stones at his car, during a protest by farmers against the state government’s decision to announce three capitals for Andhra.
Following this, Ramakrishna Reddy held a press meet, where he lashed out at Chandrababu Naidu and held him responsible for the violence.
On Wednesday, Avinash posted a video on TikTok, where he allegedly abused the MLA and said that the legislator had no 'stature' to comment on Chandrababu Naidu. As the video was circulated on social media, YSRCP workers filed a complaint with the police.
Avinash was released on bail after the TDP sent its lawyers to the police station.
According to reports, a case was booked against him under Section 504 (intentional insult with intent to provoke breach of the peace) and Section 506 (criminal intimidation), besides relevant sections of the Information Technology Act.
The arrest was also condemned by TDP general secretary Nara Lokesh, who took to Twitter and said, "I will stand by all social media volunteers of the TDP. The government is violating human rights by curbing freedom of expression."
"When something similar happens against us, and we complain to the police, they say that it is freedom of expression and no case can be filed," Lokesh said.
తప్పుడు కేసులతో వైకాపా నాయకులకు తొత్తులుగా మారుతున్న పోలీసులు చేసిన ప్రతి తప్పుకి న్యాయ స్థానాల్లో మూల్యం చెల్లించుకోక తప్పదు. వైకాపా ప్రజా ప్రతినిధులకు బూతులు మాట్లాడే హక్కు కల్పిస్తూ ప్రత్యేక చట్టం ఏమైనా తీసుకొచ్చారా @ysjagan గారు?(2/4)— Lokesh Nara (@naralokesh) January 9, 2020
This is not the first time that such arrests have taken place.
In December last year, the Andhra Pradesh police arrested two sympathisers of the TDP for making objectionable comments about a woman MLA belonging to ruling YSRCP.