Visakhapatnam: In a despicable act, a Dalit youth here was assaulted and tonsured on allegations of theft by film producer and Telugu Big Boss-2 fame Nutan Naidu's wife Madhu Priya and six other persons in Visakhapatnam.
Police on Saturday arrested the accused including four women for attempt to murder, wrongful confinement and other charges. This after 20-year-old P. Srikanth lodged a complaint with the police and revealed before media the shocking humiliation he had suffered at their hands on Friday.
Police said the victim was detained at Nutan Naidu's house for five hours with the accused thrashing him with iron rod and sticks and tonsuring his head.
The shocking visuals of the incident went viral, sparking public outrage and Dalit organisations demanding stringent punishment to the guilty.
"The visuals show how badly he was beaten with sticks and rods. He was tonsured though he kept pleading with them not to do so," said Visakhapatnam police commissioner Manish Kumar Sinha.
He said the accused would be produced before a magistrate after a COVID-19 test. The police would also seek their custody for further questioning.
Nutan Naidu was reportedly not present at his house at the time of the incident but the police are trying to ascertain the facts.
According to police, Srikanth had worked at Nutan Naidu's residence for four months but quit the job on August 1.
As Madhu Priya had lost her mobile phone, she grew suspicious and called Srikanth to her house on Thursday. He was grilled and threatened by the woman and her staff members. Though he claimed that he is innocent and even suggested they lodge a police complaint, they called him again the next day and illegally confined her.
The assault and humiliation continued from 2 p.m. to 7 p.m. They called a barber and got his head tonsured. The accused even filmed the punishment meted out to the hapless youth on their mobile phones. They even warned him of dire consequences if he revealed this to anybody. Srikanth said they told him that they would lodge a police complaint that he was tracking a woman's Whatsapp messages.
"While three are seen beating him, the others also became a part of the crime by threatening him, encouraging them to beat and taking selfies or videos," the commissioner said.
A case under Indian Penal Code (IPC) sections 307 (attempt to murder), 342 (wrongful confinement), 324 (voluntarily causing hurt by dangerous weapons or means), 323 (voluntarily causing hurt) and 506 (criminal intimidation) and various sections of the SC, ST Atrocities (Prevention) Act was registered at the Pendurthi police station.
A native of Srikakulam district, Srikanth said though he kept pleading with them to let him go, he was shown no mercy.
After studying up to 10th class, Srikanth had migrated from Srikakulam district to the coastal city hoping to get a job and provide a better life to his grandmother and younger sister.
He had joined work as a housekeeping assistant at Nutan Naidu's residence in May.