Thursday, January 28, 2010

A brief report on rape of four Khond adivasi women


We, the functionaries of several rights, women and dalit organisations demand immediate filing of a criminal case under relevant sections of the law into the January 22 rape by policemen of four Khond adivasi women of Baaluguda village in Babusala panchayat of Munchingput mandal in Visakhapatnam district. We strongly condemn the attempts of the local police to hush up this heinous crime.

Members of these organisations visited Baaluguda on Sunday (Jan. 24) and spoke with the resident adivasis. The adivasi women confirmed to us what they had told the Paderu ex-MLA Mr Lake Raja Rao the day before, on January 23. According to them, around 50 greyhounds police personnel along with the Munchingput SI of police Keshav Rao descended on the village at about 5 am on Friday (Jan 22). They rounded up all the men and boys they could find near a school located on the edge of the village. Several policemen then entered the houses of the four adivasi women, Vanthala Domini (who is also the community health worker in the village), Vanthala Rami, Vanthala Muktha and Killo Butto and raped them.

The policemen took into their custody nine men of the village and left at about 8 am. The following day, 6 of them were let off after “bind over” cases were booked against them. Criminal cases were booked against three others and they have since been remanded to judicial custody.

Shockingly, even three days after the heinous crime of rape was committed by the policemen, no case has been registered and no investigation taken up. The SP has appointed the Chintapalli ASP Mr Sundar Rao to look into the allegations made by the women but the ASP has not even bothered to visit the village and speak with the Khond women. On the other hand, the local police are threatening Baaluguda residents that they would have to face dire consequences if they persisted with speaking the truth. We found most of the adivasis in the village, including the women who were raped, a frightened lot.

We wish to point out here that it is not necessary that the police receive a written complaint in order to begin investigation. The police are empowered to investigate even in the absence of a written complaint. In this case, the police possess full knowledge of the allegation of rape made by the women. The matter was reported widely in both the print and audio-visual media also. Yet, no FIR has been registered and therefore there has not been any witness examination, collection of circumstantial evidence, medical examination etc. In cases of rape, medical corroboration is extremely important and already precious time has been lost.

We demand that a criminal case must be registered under relevant sections of the law including IPC 376 (2) (g) relating to gang-rape as well as section 3 (2) (v) of the SC, ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989. The government must ensure that the local police desist from their attempts to protect perpetrators of this crime and see that investigative procedures are initiated without further delay so that the police personnel responsible for this terrible crime are punished.

Importantly, the investigation into the case must not be handed over to the local police. Since the accused are the police themselves, it would not be proper or prudent to get the criminal investigation done by either their local counterparts or the CID of AP. The case must be handed over to the CBI if justice is to be done.

It may be recalled that in the Vakapally rape case, where 11 Khond women were raped by Greyhounds personnel on August 20, 2007, the then ASP Mr Ananda Rao who was appointed the investigative officer did not even bother to visit the village for nearly two weeks. This fact was also stated in the enquiry proceedings of Mr Nagi Reddy, the then Secretary, Tribal Welfare, Govt of AP. In fact, the National ST Commission had recommended on December 12, 2007 to the AP government that the Vakapally case be handed over to the CBI but the State government sat on this. If police personnel responsible for sexual inhumanity on women are allowed to go scot-free, they will continue to commit crimes with impunity.

VS Krishna K Padma A Annapurna
(State general secretary (general secretary (Dist. EC member Human Rights Forum) Mahila Chetna) APCLC)

K Venkata Ramana

(Gen. Secretary Jai Bheem Cultural and Welfare Association)

No comments:

Post a Comment

Ground Report India publishes articles as they are given. Ground Report India is not responsible for views of writers, critics and reporters. For any contradiction, please contact to the author.

Please give your Name, Email, Postal Address and Introduction with comment.

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.