Bharatiya Janata Party leader A Papareddy on Wednesday slapped a police constable in Karnataka’s Raichur district, The Indian Express reported.
The constable, Raghavendra, had reportedly tried to stop him from burning an effigy of Congress leader Siddaramaiah. BJP leaders later collected the effigy and burned it.
A video shared on social media showed Papareddy arguing with the constable, who is in not in uniform. The politician could also be seen slapping the officer, who is a part of the Raichur West Police Station.
The incident took place during a protest by the BJP’s Scheduled Castes Morcha against Siddaramaiah. The BJP leaders reportedly objected to a statement by the Congress leader that Dalit leaders had defected to the saffron party in order to secure their livelihoods.
The BJP’s Scheduled Castes Morcha accused Siddaramaiah of insulting the Dalit community.
Papareddy defended himself saying that he mistook Raghavendra for a BJP activist, who was a part of the protest, The Hindu reported. The politician also refused to apologise to the constable, and instead demanded action against him for disturbing the protest.
The BJP leader said that Siddaramaiah has been verbally attacking Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Karnataka Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai. He also pointed out that Congress leaders had burnt Modi’s effigy many times in the past.
“Why do they [the police] have so much love for Mr Siddaramaiah?” Papareddy asked, according to The Hindu. “Burning effigies of political leaders has been there for decades. But the police have attempted to prevent us from burning Mr Siddaramaiah’s effigy.”