Kannada actor Upendra’s ‘anti-Dalit’ comment sparks row

Even as negative and angry responses started on social media, Upendra quickly tendered an apology and deleted the post.
Sandalwood actor Upendra (File Photo | EPS)
Sandalwood actor Upendra (File Photo | EPS)

BENGALURU: Leader of Uttama Prajakeeya Party and actor Upendra courted controversy on Sunday after he allegedly made a discriminatory statement against Dalits during his Facebook live session.

His comment was widely criticised on social media sites, while protests were also held in some parts of Ramanagara, where his effigy was burnt.

Even as negative and angry responses started on social media, Upendra quickly tendered an apology and deleted the post.

On his Facebook page, he said, “Those who are speaking against me today were not even born then. Fifty years ago, I saw cruel poverty, people dying by suicide by setting themselves on fire, hunger, humiliation and oppression. Would one who has grown up experiencing all this speak ill against a particular section? Am I crazy? What would I gain from it? Don’t you have the courage to offer forgiveness? Why is there so much  hate?” 

The Chennammana Kere Achukattu police in Bengaluru registered an FIR against him based on a complaint filed by Madhusudhan KN, an Assistant Director of the Social Welfare Department. The police have booked the actor-politician under the provisions of the SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act.

The police said a decision will be taken to summon Upendra for questioning based on the findings of the investigation. “We will check in what context and with what intent he has made the statement. Based on that, further action will be initiated,” a senior police officer said. 

Case filed against Upendra

Indhudhara Honnapura, a progressive leader of the oppressed sections, said, “It is the Brahminical mindset that keeps this concept alive. It speaks of his jaati (caste) mindset. I feel sad and angry about what he said. One should have wisdom after doing so many movies and starting a political party.’’

Karnataka Slum Dalit Janondalana leader Narasimha Murthy said, “While Upendra tries to sound like a progressive person, his statement is regressive. I condemn his casteist comment. The leaders need to be conscious of what they are saying.”

At Harohalli and Kanakapura in Ramanagara district, supporters of Samata Sainik Dal burnt Upendra’s effigy and chanted slogans condemning his statement.

Dal state president M Venkataswamy said, “Our partymen protested and also filed a case against him. He is not an ordinary man. He is a superstar. I demand that the government book him legally and treat him as an offender. He carries a dirty casteist mindset.’’

Upendra’s Uttama Prajakeeya Party polled more votes than AAP in the recent Assembly polls in Karnataka. 

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