Kannada actor-turned-politician Upendra has been booked under the SC/ST Atrocities Act for his alleged casteist remark against the Holeya community.
The sandalwood actor, while discussing trolls who comment on his party, likened them to the Holeya community, an SC community primarily found in regions of Karnataka and Kerala.
“We need innocent people, from whom we can derive many benefits. Their suggestions will be good. They don’t give careless suggestions or make careless remarks. Some individuals comment carelessly merely because they want to comment. If there’s a village, there will be a Holageri,” (Holageri – a quarter of a village or a region outside the village where the Holeya community people reside), stated the actor in his Instagram live video. According to his remark, just as a village has a lower caste community lane, there also exist people who troll or post certain comments on his posts. The actor was forced to remove the Instagram video following heavy backlash from netizens.
Protests also broke out in Hosakerehalli village of Ramanagara district, where Dalit organizations burned the effigy of the actor, demanding his arrest for his derogatory remark. The actor later posted an apology on his Facebook, stating that it was a slip of the tongue and his intention was not to hurt the sentiments of any community.
Madhusudhan KN, an assistant director of the social welfare department, filed a complaint at the Kere Achukattu police station, based on which the police registered an FIR against the actor under the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989.
The complainant stated that being a popular actor in Karnataka, Upendra should have set a positive example, as he has many followers; if they imitate him, it will further harm the society. The complainant further added that this has hurt the sentiments of the Dalit community and insisted on booking him under the Atrocities Act.
Addressing the issue, Bengaluru South DCP P Krishnakant stated that action will be taken against the actor in accordance with the law. “A complaint has been registered against actor Upendra for hurting the sentiments of a community. The actor has stated that he had no intention to hurt any community. Action will be taken as per the law,” he said.