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Eleven Girijan women allege gang-rape by policemen

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Special Correspondent

Women sent for medical examination to Visakhapatnam

Women brought to Paderu by MLA Raja Rao

Superintendent of Police denies incident

VISAKHAPATNAM: Eleven Girijan women of Vakapalli under Nurmati panchayat in G. Madugula mandal in the Visakha agency area alleged that they had been gang-raped by Greyhound policemen in their village on Monday morning. The women were brought to Paderu by local MLA Lake Raja Rao where they lodged a complaint with Sub-Collector D. S. Lokesh Kumar in the evening.

The 11 women were sent to the King George Hospital here for medical examination. The alleged gang-rape took place in the background of the police intensively searching for the accused in the ZPP Vice-Chairman S. Ravishankar’s murder case.

Meanwhile, Superintendent of Police Akun Sabharwal denied the gang-rape incident. “No complaint was lodged with the police anywhere in the district. But I have asked Additional SP B. Ananda Rao to probe the matter. A case was also registered against the Greyhound policemen under the SC, ST Atrocities (Prevention) Act. Action would be taken depending on the result of the inquiry”.

In fact, the police party had been withdrawn from the village on Monday night, Dr. Sabharwal said. According to the victims, the 21 Greyhound policemen entered the village around 6 a.m. along with two youth of the village -- Pangi Prakash and Pangi Suryam -- who were found missing since August 14.

The police raided their houses and destroyed household articles. The women said they were raped in their homes or in the fields or near a stream to where they had gone to fetch water. Soon after the incident, all the villagers moved to Nurmati. Some reporters met the victims at Nurmati. The women said the police who denied earlier that they had picked up Prakash and Suryam, brought them to Vakapalli on Monday.

Report demanded

Meanwhile the State Human Rights Commission directed the SP to submit a report on the incident by 10.30 a.m. on Tuesday, its Chairman Justice B. Subhashan Reddy told The Hindu from Hyderabad. The Commission reacted after a complaint was faxed to it by Padma of Andhra Pradesh Mahila Samakhya.

Hyderabad Special Correspondent adds: The CPI State Council and balladeer Gadar on Monday condemned the alleged rape of 11 tribals and demanded initiation of criminal proceedings against the offenders. Both CPI secretary K. Narayana and Gadar demanded a judicial enquiry into the incident and arrest of the policemen involved. Gadar wanted Tribal Welfare Minister D. Redya Naik to resign owning moral responsibility for the incident and suspension of SP. The CPI leader sought compensation and jobs for the victims.

Mr. Narayana called for steps to protect tribals in agency areas from brutalities of special police teams.

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