“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?” TDP MLA Chintamaneni Prabhakar is seen making this declaration in a video that has gone viral in the last 48 hours. The MLA was reportedly speaking in his constituency Denduluru in November last year, after a minor political scuffle. But with the video surfacing now, Prabhakar is facing severe criticism for the assertion that Dalits don’t need to be involved in politics. And now, the MLA has alleged that the video has been doctored by rivals YSRCP.
Prabhakar was reportedly speaking in the context of a Dalit leader, who had joined YSRCP, opposing Prabhakar’s visit to the constituency. "Did I stop Jagan Mohan Reddy when he came the other day? If I intended to, wouldn't I have stopped him? Won't you have joined me?" Prabhakar can be heard saying in a longer version of the video doing the rounds on social media.
"Is it fair (to stop me)? 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."
Dalit groups across Andhra are demanding action against the legislator for his remarks, under relevant provisions of the SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act. Meanwhile, rivals YSRCP have been demanding the sacking of Prabhakar for his casteist speech.
Prabhakar for his part has accused the YSRCP of carrying out a ‘slander campaign’ against him to bring him down. “The video has been edited. It is a criminal offence. Action should be taken against those who made it viral,” he said, after he filed a complaint with Eluru police on Wednesday and sat on a dharna at Eluru junction near Dr BR Ambedkar’s statue.
The MLA further did a ‘palabhishekam’ (pouring of milk on a statue as an offering, usually done for Hindu gods) for the statue of Ambedkar, in order to prove he was not casteist.
Claiming that he’s ready for an investigation, Prabhakar said, “A committee comprising SCs should thoroughly investigate this matter and bring out facts. 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.”
Meanwhile, the Andhra Pradesh SC/ST Lawyers Forum for Social Justice, an association comprising Adivasi and Dalit lawyers, filed a complaint with the Kurnool II town police on Thursday.
“The high handedness and feudal mind of Chintamaneni Prabhakar was patiently clear by the tone and tenure of his abusive language, and his intention to insult and humiliate Dalit community as a whole. This is clearly an offence under the provisions of SC/ST prevention of atrocities act,” the complaint read.
“It is also clear that his intention is not only to insult and humiliate Dalits, but he also meant to say that Dalits are not suitable for political positions and thereby created a sense of insecurity among Dalits,” they added.