Telangana Minister KT Rama Rao hit out writer and social scientist Kancha Ilaiah, who has already been facing flak from several sides for his recent book.
Arya Vysya organisations have been holding protests in parts of Telangana and Andhra Pradesh and burning the writer's effigies, seeking a ban on his book 'Komatollu Samajika Smagglarlu' (Komatollu are social smugglers).
Several MPs, MLAs and even Telangana Irrigation Minister Harish Rao have condemned Ilaiah and accused him of targeting a single group.
On Thursday, KTR was replying to a tweet by journalist Sagarika Ghose, who tweeted, "Dear KTR, why no protection or security to Kancha Ilaiah? Zero tolerance for death threats please!"
Responding to the tweet, KTR said, "Freedom of expression doesnâ€™t confer upon anyone the right to insult as they wish. If there is a threat perception, TS police will review it"
Ghose then argued that Kancha could be taken to court, or denounced at forums, but the government and the police had to act swiftly on death threats and violence.
"No differing with you on the death threats, but abuse of freedom of expression to deride, insult and target a specific community is reprehensible," KTR hit back.
Last week, Kancha was allegedly attacked with slippers and stones, as he was heading towards Hyderabad, after attending a function in Bhupalpally in Telangana.
Kancha filed a police complaint accusing four people of attacking his vehicle and trying to kill him.
Meanwhile, Arya Vysya outrage against the writer continued taking extreme forms online and offline this week.
While one video being circulated on Facebook and WhatsApp shows a group of men encouraging two boys to urinate on Kanchaâ€™s photo, and shouting 'Jai Vysya ki Jai', another video shows a group of women singing a song titled â€˜Ilaiah Niku Damaku Ledaâ€™ (Ilaiah donâ€™t you have a brain), which consists of threats and insults to the social scientist.
Earlier, members of Arya Vysya associations had also distributed images of Kancha to be used as doormats.
Kancha has defended his book, telling reporters earlier, "Social Smuggling is a phrase. It is the economic process of exploitation, which means earning in business but not investing back into society."
Kancha is presently the Director, Center for the Study of Social Exclusion and Inclusive Policy at Maulana Azad National Urdu University (MANUU) in Hyderabad.
â€” Sagarika Ghose (@sagarikaghose) September 28, 2017
Freedom of expression doesnâ€™t confer upon anyone the right to insult as they wish. If there is a threat perception, TS police will review it https://t.co/7wVzqqFZ0Aâ€” KTR (@KTRTRS) September 28, 2017
No differing with you on the death threats but abuse of freedom of expression to deride, insult & target specific community is reprehensible https://t.co/MOm1VInOs8â€” KTR (@KTRTRS) September 28, 2017