Special Correspondent

VISAKHAPATNAM: The five-member fact finding team led by CPI (M) MLC M.V.S. Sarma that inquired into the alleged rape of 11 tribal women in Vakkapalli village on Monday morning, charged that the police had deliberately attempted to delay the medical examination of the victims obviously to tamper with the evidence. It concluded that the police had, in fact, molested innocent primitive tribal women in brutal fashion.

It also pooh-poohed the police argument that the victims had lodged a false complaint by stating that there was no such need as the villagers had told them that no police team ever visited their village in the last 4-5 years.

Mr. Sarma, in a press release, demanded immediate suspension of all the police personnel responsible for the incident, granting of compensation to the victims, and appointment of a judicial commission headed by a sitting High Court judge to bring out the truth.

The fact finding team which included AIDWA district secretary B. Prabhavathi, ZPTC member Killo Surendra (Aruku), APGS general secretary K. Bhushana Rao and CPI (M) Paderu division secretary M. Suryanarayana, narrated the sequence of events as told to them by the villagers.

While one woman Pangi Kusai was beaten with butt of the gun, 11 women who were chased into the nearby turmeric field, were caught and bodily lifted and then molested at gun point.

Meanwhile, NGO Samata sought the intervention of NHRC for ensuring an impartial probe into the alleged gang-rape. In a complaint faxed to NHRC along with a news report published in The Hindu on Tuesday, Samata executive director Rebbaprada Ravi said various agencies including Tribal Welfare Department and SC/ST Commission should be involved in investigating the case.