Dalits ‘punished’ in Telangana: SC panel meets victims, demands accused’s arrest

This comes weeks after a video of the two men being ‘punished’ by a local BJP worker went viral.

National SC Commission member K. Ramulu visited the village of Abhangapatnam in Telangana’s Nizamabad district on Saturday, and interacted with two Dalit youths who had been ‘punished’.

This comes weeks after a video of the two men being ‘punished’ by a local political leader went viral.

The video of the original incident showed a man identified as Bharat Reddy holding a stick and threatening to cane the victims, identified as Laxman and Rajeswar of Abhangapatnam village, while hurling abuses at them.

He then forces the two men to walk into a muddy pool and dip themselves repeatedly.

Ramulu urged the Nizamabad Commissioner of Police Kartikeya to ensure the arrest of former BJP leader Medigam Bharath Reddy.

Reviewing the progress of the police case which was registered under the SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, Ramulu also directed the in-charge Collector A. Ravinder Reddy to ensure payment of Rs 8 lakh each to the families of the two Dalit youths, along with police protection.

“SC Commission is not a political entity or a political organisation. It is meant for all the SCs’ welfare and has been working for justice to SC victims’ families,” he was quoted as saying.

Following the incident, Laxman and Rajeswar had gone missing, only to surface earlier this month and allege that they had been abducted by Bharat Reddy.

The two men said that they had been abducted in order to force them to give a statement exonerating Reddy of any responsibility for the events in the video. This contradicted the statement they had made to a Telugu news channel a day before.

In a sudden twist to the whole case, they ‘resurfaced’ in Hyderabad and told the television channel NTV that they had not been kidnapped and were part of a cinema shoot.

They claimed that they were just acting in the video of them being punished, and it was all part of an elaborate movie. They also said that they had gone to Hyderabad looking for work, and did not know that the police were looking for them.

However, after returning home, they changed their statements.

“We have been missing for a few days, and a lot of groups had protested for us. It is with your help, that we have come out of this. About the other video, we didn’t do it intentionally. We were forced to say certain things after they intimidated us in secret. With the hope that we will be able to leave, we participated in what they asked us to do for 10 minutes or so,” Laxman said.

“Don’t think that we are saying a different thing every day. We experienced hell over there,” he added.


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