Hyderabad: Did former Andhra Pradesh chief minister N Chandrababu Naidu assault a tribal woman during a meeting in East Godavari district? Yes, says a television channel, which repeatedly telecast the scene but Naidu`s Telugu Desam Party (TDP) denies it.
The visuals show TDP chief raising his hand to beat a woman, snatching the mike from her and even hitting her on her arm to force her to sit down. The main opposition party, however, clarified that Naidu was only trying to restrain her.
The incident took place late Friday at Prattipadu in East Godavari district when Naidu was meeting people after visiting laterite mines in Vantada village.
During the interaction, a woman supporting the mines criticised politicians for frequently visiting the area. She snatched the mike from another woman to express her views. Fuming at her action, Naidu admonished her and raised his hand as if to hit her. The leader of opposition then snatched the mike from her and hit her arm to force her to sit down.
Sakshi television channel, owned by Congress MP YS Jaganmohan Reddy, repeatedly telecast the visuals, claiming that Naidu attacked a tribal woman. It said Naidu lost his cool as the woman wanted to pose a question to him.
Leaders of the ruling party demanded Naidu`s arrest and that he be booked under the Scheduled Castes/Scheduled Tribes Atrocities (Prevention) Act. They also demanded that Naidu immediately resign from the post of leader of opposition.
"It is shameful for a man who served as chief minister for nine years and leader of opposition for over six years to raise his hand on a woman," said state Minister for Tribal Welfare P Balarju.
Congress legislators and tribal leaders demanded action against the TDP chief.
The TDP, however, clarified that Naidu was only trying to pacify two groups of women who were quarrelling with each other. TDP leader Ramesh Rathod alleged that the television channel spread false propaganda against Naidu as the latter was on a campaign to expose illegal mining.