The Eluru police arrested the West Godavari district YSRCP general secretary Kattula Ravi Kumar on Thursday, for sharing a video that was allegedly doctored, in which a TDP MLA is seen making casteist remarks against Dalits. Confirming the arrest, Eluru DSP M Ravi Prakash told TNM, "We have arrested Kattula Ravi Kumar for sharing the video. The investigation is still going on. We will identify the other culprits who were responsible for doctoring video."
The video in question is a 2-minute clip of TDP MLA Chintamaneni Prabhakar speaking in constituency Denduluru in November last year, where he used expletives against Dalits. “Politically you should remember something. You are Dalits. You all are downtrodden. You belong to Scheduled Castes. Politics is for us (Kammas). The leadership posts are reserved for us. Then why the f*#k are you fighting?” he said.
A longer video gives the context; Prabhakar was speaking about a confrontation with local Dalit leader from the YSRCP. "Did I stop Jaganmohan Reddy when he came the other day? If I intended to, wouldn't I have stopped him? Won't you have joined me?" he asks the crowd gathered.
“Politically you should remember something. You are Dalits. You all are downtrodden. You belong to Scheduled Castes. Politics is for us (Kammas). The leadership posts are reserved for us. Then why the f*#k are you fighting? Why do you need politics, instead of thinking about how to raise your kids with affection?” he asked, adding, “I never used you people for my personal benefit, except when party gives a call. I'm telling you this today, they (YSRCP) should fear you. In front of the architect of the Constitution, BR Ambedkar, I'm donating buffaloes which cost Rs 80,000 to you, at the price of Rs 15,000.”
While the context doesn’t change the casteist and patronising nature of the comment, the police have claimed that the video is doctored. The edited video was shared widely on social media, sparking wide protests led by opposition party, YSRCP, demanding his removal from the party. However, defending himself, Prabhakar claimed that the video was ‘mischievously edited’ by the YSRCP, and lodged a complaint with Eluru police on Wednesday and also sat on a dharna at Dr BR Ambedkar statue near Eluru junction.
He said that he was willing to have a full probe by a committee led by Scheduled Caste members to find the truth in it. "If I was indeed proven to be a person with caste bias, I will never contest in elections, even as a ward member, in my life," Prabhakar said.
The video created a furore in the state with Dalit groups filing cases against the Denduluru MLA.