Hyderabad: Telugu actor and film critic Kathi Mahesh, who was booked by police for allegedly making statements "disrespecting" Hindu deities, was today externed from Hyderabad city for six months, police said.
Last month, some members of Hindu organisations in their complaint had accused Mahesh, also a filmmaker, of making derogatory statements and offensive comments against Lord Ram and Sita during a debate on a local news channel.
Based on the complaint, a case was registered against Mahesh under various Indian Penal Code sections, including 295A (Deliberate and malicious acts, intended to outrage religious feelings), and he was also questioned on July 2, police said.
"...Kathi Mahesh has been externed from Hyderabad city for the next six months under the Telangana Prevention of Anti-Social and Hazardous Activities Act," Director General of Police (DGP) M Mahendar Reddy told reporters.
This was in view of the "derogatory" statements made by him on multiple occasions "leading to hurting of sentiments of large sections of people and adversely affecting even tempo of life," the DGP said.
He has been taken out of Hyderabad to be dropped at his native place in Chittoor (in Andhra Pradesh), he said.
Reddy said a show cause notice has been issued to the management of a Telugu TV channel responsible for telecasting "malicious content hurting religious sentiments", directing them to explain why they should not be prosecuted for the offences under the relevant sections of the Cable Television Networks (Regulation) Act for violation of the programme.
"The members of the broadcasting channels are requested to act with a sense of responsibility. The media channels cannot be permitted to act as platforms for nurturing and promoting divisive tendencies among various groups based on caste, community and religion leading to law and order problems, which is a violation of law," the DGP said.
He said that certain elements, with ulterior motives, have been trying to hurt the sentiments of people of a particular religion in the last two weeks resulting in disharmony, feelings of enmity, hatred and ill-will between groups, castes and community by airing their personal views in the public domain through electronic media.
"On account of these unwarranted statements affecting the sentiments of one group or the other, other groups have started counter agitations," the DGP said.
This, Reddy said, has posed a great threat to public peace and tranquillity and is likely to result in serious disturbance to public peace and order.
"Keeping these developments in view, it has been decided to take stern action against any individual or groups of individuals trying to disturb peace in Hyderabad city and Telangana state," he said.
"Nobody shall be spared for indulging in such activities," Reddy warned.