A Dalit man in Andhra Pradesh, who had earlier allegedly criticised the Jagan Mohan Reddy-led government’s liquor policy, was found dead on Wednesday. While his family has said that he died due to an illness, Telugu Desam Party (TDP) has demanded a probe into his death, alleging harassment from the ruling YSRCP government and police.
According to reports, a few days ago, Om Prathap, an autorickshaw driver, had allegedly made a video poking fun at the Andhra Pradesh government’s decision to hike the liquor price. The video reportedly went viral, unsettling the ruling party leaders.
TDP president Chandrababu Naidu alleged that Om Prathap, a resident of Kanduru village in Chittoor district, faced threats from the YSRCP representatives of the Punganuru constituency for criticising the government.
Accusing the Jagan-led government of being ‘anti-Dalit’, Naidu and his son Lokesh on Wednesday held the government responsible for the death of the Dalit man. The TDP chief demanded the police to constitute a high-level committee to investigate the death of Om Prakash and other attacks on Dalits across the state.
In a letter written to Director General of Police (DGP) Gautam Sawang, Naidu said, “It is saddening to witness the spurt in attacks on Dalits under the present government. It is equally disheartening to see the police inaction on the one hand, and a section of the police, on the other hand, conniving with the ruling YSRCP leaders to attack, harass and threaten Dalits. As a result, concomitantly attacks on Dalits are continuing unabated.”
Alleging that Om Prathap received several threatening calls from YSRCP leaders, Naidu wanted the DGP to investigate into the call records of the deceased.
Taking to Twitter, TDP general secretary and son of Naidu, Nara Lokesh alleged that Om Prathap was killed for criticising the government’s liquor policy. He alleged that the deceased received several threats from both YSRCP leaders as well as the police for his video.
ఓటేసిన వారినే కాటేస్తున్నారు @ysjagan. మద్యపాన నిషేధం పేరుతో వైఎస్సార్సిపి ప్రభుత్వం ప్రజల్ని దోచుకుంటున్న తీరుని సోషల్ మీడియాలో ఎండగట్టినందుకు దళిత యువకుడు ఓం ప్రతాప్ ని బలితీసుకున్నారు.(1/3) pic.twitter.com/vwKVP4xUA9— Lokesh Nara #StayHomeSaveLives (@naralokesh) August 26, 2020
ఈ ఘటన వెనుక ఉన్న వైకాపా ముఖ్యనాయకులను కఠినంగా శిక్షించాలి.దళితులకు ప్రభుత్వాన్ని ప్రశ్నించే హక్కు లేదా?దళితులపై జగన్ రెడ్డి ప్రభుత్వ దాష్టికాన్ని తీవ్రంగా ఖండిస్తున్నాను.(3/3)— Lokesh Nara #StayHomeSaveLives (@naralokesh) August 26, 2020
“The YSRCP leaders behind the crime should be strictly punished. Don’t Dalits have a right to question this government? We condemn the Jagan Reddy government's attack on Dalits.”
While the TDP blames harassment by the government and police for the death, Prathap’s family members claim that the deceased died due to some illness.
Lakshmikanth, Inspector of Somala police station, told Deccan Chronicle, “We asked the family to lodge a complaint if they have any suspicions over his death, but they insisted that he died due to illness.”