Stung by angry protests from activists of human rights groups, women and dalit organisations, a criminal case was registered on Tuesday against the special party police in connection with the alleged rape of four Khond Adivasi women in Baaluguda village of Munchingput mandal in Visakhapatnam district on January 22.
Based on a complaint from Baaluguda village secretary Ch Bhupathi, the police registered the case at Munchingput police station under section 376 of IPC as well as section 3 (12) of SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act against the erring cops. Earlier, the police did not register a case when the villagers approached them. Instead, they told them only the victims could file a complaint.
Paderu revenue divisional officer Prasada Rao visited the village and conducted a 'secret' inquiry. Sources said he held a closed-door enquiry with two victims. When contacted, the RDO said he would submit a report to the higher officials. The government-appointed inquiry officer and Chintapally additional SP Syam Sundar merely said they could not proceed further as the victims have not complained about the incident.
The police served a notice on BSP leader Pangi Rajarao asking him to present evidences of the alleged rape. Meanwhile, former Chintapalli MLA G Demudu has criticised the attitude of the government, especially tribal welfare minister, for not reacting strongly to the heinous act of the police.
Meanwhile, the women and rights activists have demanded filing of criminal cases against the cops responsible for the alleged rape. They alleged that the police were trying to hush up the matter. They said the Greyhounds cops entered the houses of the four women after rounding up nine tribal men in the name of helping the Maoists and allegedly raped them. Six of the men were let off after bindover cases were registered, while criminal cases were booked against three others and remanded to judicial custody.
"Even five days after the heinous crime was committed by the policemen, no criminal case has been registered and the police did not conduct investigation either," K Padma of Mahila Chetana group said.
Sources said 50 Greyhounds cops along with Munchingput SI Keshav Rao swooped on the village in the early hours of Jan 22. The activists said though the district SP had appointed the Chintapalli ASP to enquire into the allegations, the ASP did not bother to visit the village and speak with the victims. "The local police are threatening the tribals with dire consequences if they speak out," K Venkata Ramana of a tribal welfare association said.
The activists are askance as to why no witness examination, collection of circumstantial evidence, medical and laboratory examination and identification parade have been taken up till now. It may be recalled that 11 Khond women were allegedly raped by the Greyhounds personnel on August 20, 2007, in Vakapally village in Vizag Agency and the National ST Commission had recommended in December 2007 to the AP government that the case be handed over to the CBI.