New Delhi: The Hyderabad police on Friday detained journalist and former CEO of the Telugu media outlet Mojo TV Revathi Pogadadanda.
The police said that she is an accused in a case registered under the SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act by a guest who had appeared on a debate on the channel.
In a series of tweets, Pogadadanda alleged that despite not having a warrant or a notice, the police personnel demanded that she accompany them to the police station. She also claimed that as a “female journalist”, she was being “harassed” by a few people.
ACP K. Srinivas Rao told the News Minute that Pogadadanda “was not cooperating with the police”.
“We have already served two written notices and also called her and asked her to come to the police station, but she did not respond,” he said.
Pogadadanda’s husband, Chaitanya Dantuluri, however, denied this and told the News Minute that Pogadadanda had repeatedly tried to arrange a meeting with the police over the issue.
The case in question, for which Pogadadanda has been arrested, dates back to January 2019, when during a discussion over the entry of women into Kerala’s Sabarimala temple, her co-anchor Raghu got into an altercation with a panel guest identified as Varaprasad.
After Varaprasad accused the channel of having ‘biased’ views, the argument escalated and Pogadadanda’s co-anchor asked him why, as a Dalit, he didn’t “question the oppression of Dalits in the country” instead of worrying about “women’s temple entry”. Varaprasad was asked to leave soon after, which is when he claimed that he was disrespected.
Varaprasad took offence at the mention of his caste and claimed that mentioning his identity in public, on a show that was viewed by thousands of people across the state, itself was discrimination.
Pogadadanda has also alleged harassment by the Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS)-led state government over the last few months.
In response to recent events, the Committee to Protect Journalists condemned her detention and asked that she “be released immediately”.
“Arresting a journalist without charge or warrant because an individual claims they were insulted is absurd,” said CPJ’s Asia program coordinator Steven Butler.