A film critic has been banned from Hyderabad for six months over allegations of "hurting religious sentiment" with his comments on Lord Ram and Sita. Kathi Mahesh was taken by the Telangana police from Hyderabad to his hometown Chittoor in neighbouring Andhra Pradesh on Monday and "restored to his parents".
Kathi Mahesh, 41, has provoked a massive controversy with the comments he made during a TV debate last week. He was arrested on July 2 after multiple cases were filed against him.
"Kathi Mahesh has made adverse comments affecting the religious sentiment of one particular group in large populations...Measures have been taken to remove him from Hyderabad city and restore him to his parents in Chittoor," said Director General of Police Mahendar Reddy.
Mr Mahesh has said he is being targeted because he is a Dalit and calls the action against him a violation of his freedom of expression. He faces three years in jail if he defies police orders to stay out of Hyderabad.
The police chief said he would make sure there were no law and order problems arising out of protests against the film critic's comments.
Swami Paripoornananda, a seer who wanted to lead a 40-km march in protest against Mr Kathi, was not allowed to undertake the yatra and was instead placed under house arrest.
The religious leader had announced the three-day march chanting 'Sri Rama Sankeertanas'. He and his supporters say the critic should be arrested, not just banished from Hyderabad.
The police chief said a decision would be taken later on whether to banish Mr Mahesh from the state.