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fact finding committee Report on Vakapally Gang Rape

Posted by Indian Vanguard on September 3, 2007

A Fact finding committee constituted with the members, on August 23rd, has visited the Vakapally village of Nurmathi panchayat of Visakhapatnam district, where as many as 11 tribal women were dishonored by the Greyhounds police on August 20th, The poor tribal women were raped by the cruel police mercilessly. This incident moves the entire nation, especially women cutting across the caste and religion. The electronic and print media had highlighted the hapless tribal women tragedy prominently, soon after the ghastly incident reported.

The representatives:

Ms Lalitha

Padma (Chaitanya Mahila Samakhya)

D. Chandranna,

Purnachandrarao (AIFTU)

Bhimabharat,

Mohan (DBSOS)

Apparao,

Annapurna (APCLC),

UB. Krishna (HRF)

Uma (Kavo)

Anitha (Savitri Bhai Phool Sangam)

Devi (APTF)

Ganga Bhavani,

Laxmi

Aruna (POW)

Prasadarao (steel plant SC,ST employees association)

Sudhakar (DBSU)

Kusuma (Sakshi Human rights)

Patnaik (MCPI)

Nirmala (Professor)

Bhumudu (Girijana Vidhyarthi Sangham) and

Part of the Fact Finding Committee.

Vakapally, a small tribal village, situated 190 Km away from the Greater Visakhapatnam. We reached the Vakapally, after two hours walk from Nurmathi Panchayat village of G.Madugula Mandal. There are Phirangi, Puraja, Gadaba, Kraja, Koda tribal people living in the village. They depend on the Podu cultivation to eke out their livelihood. The victims described the police brutality on the fate day of August 20th.

On Monday morning, at about 10 am, some 21 police belongs to Greyhounds, raided on the village, alleging the tribal were handing glove with the naxalites. The police abused the womenfolk and dragged them out from the houses. The police had forcibly taken the women from the houses and resorted to rape. The victims Ms Prangi Barasu, Arisobhi, Korra Kumari, Korra Janakamma, Vantala Chitteemma, Vantala Rendo, Pangi Ande, Pangi Laxmi lodged a compliant to the Sub collector of the Paderu revenue division. The women were at the age of 20 to 45 years. Even a woman (45 years), and other women who had delivered a baby just three days ago, were not spared by the brutal police. Later with the help of the elders and husbands, the tribal women met the Paderu MLA Rajarao and explained the police evil behavior. The MLA, in turn drew the attention of the ITDA Officer about this incident.

It was unfair on part of the DGP Mr MA. Basit that the Maoists were resorting to propaganda against the police who are involved in the combing operations in the naxal infested agency area of the district. He said that the naxals were intentionally trying to tarnish the image Mr Jana Reddy also said that it was not fact that the tribal women were raped by the police. Later he said that a case will be registered by the district SP against the police under sc, st prevention and atrocities act. Tribal women will be sent to medical tests, the Minister said. Police were ordered to take the victims to KGH hospital. Police made a futile attempt to distore the facts in this case.

A Husband of the victim Sridevi, asked his wife not to speak about the incident and do not lodge compliant against the police. On another side the DSP of Paderu Stalin also alleged that the Maoists had stooped down level where they were making baseless against by exploiting the tribal women. In the meanwhile, so far the names of the accused in this case were not disclosed by the state government. It indicates the state government dilly dally attitude. The state police have been trying to dilute the case. The district collector and Superintendent of the Police failed to visit the village. However, the tribal women came to the capital and met the Home Minister and Human rights Commission. They also met the Chief Minister.

The State government should register the case against the greyhounds police involved in this crime, under SC,ST Act, IPC 376 and arrest the culprits immediately. The police did not conduct identification parade. The government did not order to conduct DNA tests on the police. The higher police officials interrogated the accused in a secret place and did not disclose the details.

The State government respond in this incident is unconstition. The bureaucracy violated the law and tried to rescue the police. The higher court should order the government tot register the case against the Home Minister, DGP and district SP who spared no stone unturn to rescue the accused in this cases. In 2004, a similar incident occurred in the agency village of Prakasam district, where the 8 greyhounds police raped one Kudumula Errakka. This incident reported in Charlopally Chenchugudem of Dornala Mandal. However, the police frightened the victims Errakka. They brought pressure on this woman and made her to lie that the she had reported false allegation against the police.

In protest against the police attitude, women organizations conducted a dharna and rallies in the city of Vizag. Many human right activists also conducted a dharna at Ambedkar statue in the capital. They demanded the government to announce 5 lakh rupees exgratia to the victims and order a probe by the sitting judge. They burnt the effigy of the DGP. Later the police arrested the human right activists and shifted them to the Gandhinagar police station. On 22nd of the August itself, the agency area of the Visakhapatnam observed the bandh in protest against the incident. The victims were not allowed to their villages. An uneasy calm prevailed in the Visakapatnam agency area. According to the tribal customs, the husbands of the victims were distancing themselves from their wives. The victims were sheltered in a community hall in the Vakapally village. The elders of the village are advocated to perform SUDDI in the village. In this case the accused were the outsiders. The State government failed to take stringent measures against the police. The Visakha agency area is potential to the Bauxite ore. The state government is planning to entrust the mining to the multinational companies. The government is considering the proposal to vacate the tribals in a big number. The State government is trying to brand the poor tribals as naxals sympathizers.

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