- Video of incident from September goes viral in state, sparks outrage
- The two men had objected to gravel mining
- Locals say politician was a BJP leader, party says he was only a member
The video from Nizamabad district shows Mr Reddy forcing the men - aged around 30 - to get into murky waters of a pond and take a dip. The altercation was sparked apparently because the two men objected to gravel mining in the area.
The men plead to be forgiven and even fall at his feet. But the leader is seen using a stick to chase them into the dirty water. As they take a dip with folded hands, he stands on the bank and watches and verbally abuses them. He even captures the scene on his cellphone. An aide who is awaiting beside a motorbike, does not intervene.
Locals say the men, identified as Laxman and Haggadah who are residents of Avanipatnam village in Navipeta mandal, had dared to complain against the alleged illegal mining activities, digging for gravel.
Aghast Dalit organisations claimed Mr Reddy used such abuses and felt could get away with threats because the men belonged to so-called lower castes. They have demanded that the police file a case under the Prevention of SC/ST Atrocities Act.
Sources say Bharat Reddy has been in jail before in connection with the murder case of a local Congress leader.
State BJP spokesperson Krishna Sagar refuted reports that said Bharat Reddy is a BJP leader. "He became a party member through a missed call but he is not a leader of our party," he said.
Locals say he has been seen organising party related activities in the district. They also say since Sunday morning, the two men seen being abused in the video are missing.