Telangana police have finally nabbed Bharat Reddy, a local BJP leader who was absconding for nearly a month, after assaulting two Dalits in Abhangapatnam, Nizamabad district.
The accused had reportedly taken shelter in Hyderabad and was taken into custody on Monday.
According to local reports, Reddy was produced in court.
In November, Reddy’s video threatening two Dalits—Rajeshwar and Lakshman, and forcing them to take a dip in the water for reporting about the sand mining incident went viral. Several Dalit groups protested and demanded action against Reddy. However, Reddy soon went underground, and even the victims were missing.
In the video, Reddy is seen hurling casteist slurs at the Dalits and humiliating them by asking them to get into the water.
Based on the video evidence, Navipet police filed SC/ST Atrocity case, followed by a kidnap case. After 18 days, in a fresh twist, the victims surfaced in Hyderabad and told police that Reddy didn’t kidnap them, and the video was part of a short film. However, the victims later changed their statement and told Nizamabad police that they were threatened by Reddy, and they had changed their statements because of the threats.
In an exclusive interview to NTV, Reddy who has become unrecognisable after getting a clean shave, said that he was trying to secure a bail and vehemently denied assaulting the victims. After the reporter kept on persisting, he claimed that the video was part of a scene from the short film ‘Dorala Rajyam’ (landlord’s kingdom).
He claimed that the feudal system of landlords continues to prevail in and around Navipet, and hence he made the short film to generate awareness about the cruel system.
In the interview, he also expressed his wish to surrender.
Speaking to TNM, activist Sujatha Surepally said, “We hope that the victims get justice and the accused is punished harshly for his action.”
“I want to thank all the Dalit members who partook in our rallies in Abhangapatnam to highlight the issue.”
On Saturday, Dalit groups took a second rally in the village to highlight the incident, and to mount pressure on police to trace Reddy and put him behind bars. On the same day, SC Commission member K Ramulu, also visited the victims and assured them justice.
TNM tried speaking to the Police Commissioner and Navipet Inspector, but despite repeated attempts, the calls remained unanswered.