Dalit rights activist, writer and intellectual, Kancha Ilaiah Shepherd lodged a complaint with the police at Hyderabad’s Osmania University Police Station on Monday after he was allegedly threatened over phone by unknown people. In his complaint Ilaiah states that he has been receiving threatening calls since Sunday afternoon, with the callers going to the extent of saying that they would cut off his tongue.
When questioned by the media, Iliah said:
Since yesterday many unknown phone calls kept coming and when I answered they abused me. The International Arya-Vysya Sangham headed by K Ramakrishna condemned my writings on a TV channel. Someone threatened to cut my tongue. My effigies have been burnt. I feel terribly threatened by their abuses, phone calls and messages. If anything happens to me they will be responsible.
The Arya-Vysya Sangham has expressed their angst against Dr. Ilaiah’s book entitled ‘Samajika Smugglurlu Komatollu’ (which insinuates Arya-Vsysa Sangham as social smugglers). This allegation has provoked the Vysya association to raise the offensive title issue on many media channels and complain that the title as well as certain contents in the book were derogatory to the community.
Dr. Ilaiah in the book says that Arya Vysyas being agriculturalists, who reared cattle, were traditionally consumers of non-vegetarian food. They turned vegetarian later.
The author then goes on to explain why other communities dislike the Vysyas, a trading community engaged only in businesses. Dr Ilaiah even goes onto to advise the Arya Vysyas to join the Indian Army and fight for the nation.
Demanding a ban on the sale of the book, an enraged Jayanthi Venkateswarlu, president of AP Arya Vysya Mahasabha said:
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In the past, too, he has made comments on certain castes. Being a professor he should be more dignified and not make abusive comments against other castes.
Arya Vysyas have been employing dalits and minorities in their establishments. Let him check any trade establishment run by Arya Vysyas and find out. It was Mahatma Gandhi, a Vysya, who led India to independence. The Arya Vysya community has contributed to the nation’s exchequer by paying huge taxes. We are always ahead in charity, whether it’s running an educational institution or rendering social service.
However, what is bothering the police is whether is was the Arya Vysya Sangham that has been making threatening calls to Ilaiah after publication of the controversial book.