Casteist remark: K’taka High Court gives relief to actor Upendra, stays FIR
Bengaluru: The Karnataka High Court on Monday issued a stay on the FIR registered against Kannada superstar Upendra over casteist remarks.
The actor approached the High Court seeking relief over the registration of FIRs against him. The Karnataka government had stated that action would be initiated against him.
The bench headed by Justice Hemanth Chandanagouder gave a stay order and also issued notices to the opposite parties. The counsel for Upendra submitted to the court that the actor did not issue statements in order to cause pain to any community. The proverb has been used accidentally and hence the FIRs should be stayed.
The petitioner is a well-known actor and respects social values. The live on Facebook was conducted for his followers and he is striving to eradicate corruption in the system. During the live streaming, while explaining that there are both good and evil in society, the proverb having the name of scheduled caste was mentioned, the counsel stated.
“He never practised discrimination on the basis of caste, religion and communities. In his public life, the actor has never behaved in a manner which had hurt people from the scheduled caste. The petitioner has a large following, friends in all communities,” the actor’s counsel added.
“He didn’t have any intention to insult any caste or creed. It was used as a normal word. There are many people with the surname ‘Holageri’. There is a place called Holageri in the Shivamogga district. As soon as he came to know about the development, he deleted the video and tendered an apology. Mentioning a proverb does not amount to atrocity and he has not committed any crime which will attract the provisions of the Atrocity Act,” the counsel stated.
Kannada actor Upendra, faced the threat of arrest after an FIR was filed against him for making a controversial statement against Dalits. He was asked by the Karnataka Police to appear for questioning on Monday.
Two FIRs have been filed against the actor under the provision of the Atrocity Act, which is considered a non-bailable offence.
Upendra while giving a live on social media quoted a Kannada proverb which demeans the Dalit community following which a row was triggered in the state and his statements were condemned. Following the backlash, director and actor Upendra tendered an unconditional apology and clarified that he didn’t intend to hurt the sentiments of any section of society.
The Assistant Director attached to the Social Welfare Department, Madhusoodhan had lodged a case against him at the Chennammanakere Achukattu police station. Another complaint was lodged by Bhyrappa Harish Kumar attached to Ranadheera Pade in Halasuru Gate police station.
The police served notices at his residences in Sadashivanagar and Katriguppe localities to appear for the investigation. The police have also sent the notice on WhatsApp. The actor, who is known for his unique content challenging the existing political system and traditions, is often caught in the thick of controversies.
His pan-India movie ‘Kabzaa’ bombed at the box office. He is presently busy with another pan-India project “UI”.
Upendra is a star director who delivered mega hits and went on to become a superstar. He is very well known to Telugu audiences. He has also launched a political party ‘Prajakeeya’ in Karnataka.
Karnataka Minister for Social Welfare, Dr H.C. Mahadevappa, one of the prominent and strong leaders from the Dalit community and close confidante of CM Siddaramaiah, has condemned the tendering of an apology by the actor and trying to overlook casteist discrimination in the society by claiming that he came from a poor background.
Necessary action will be taken against Upendra to stop him from making statements about taking exploited classes for granted. The action will be initiated to uphold the dignity of these communities upheld in the Indian Constitution. Most of Dalit organisations are submitting memorandums in this regard urging for action, Minister Mahadevappa stated.