Staff Reporter

Representatives of women organisations stage dharna demanding justice

City Police Commissioner denies reports Srilakshmi continues hunger strike

VIJAYWADA: City Police Commissioner Umesh Sharraf on Friday rebuffed reports that the police was acting in a biased way in Srilakshmi case.

In an informal chat with media persons, Mr. Sharraf said the woman had confessed before the police that she had engaged a local rowdy-sheeter to break the lock open and gain entry into the house. "Involvement of a rowdy-sheeter necessitated the police role to prevent any breach of law and order under Section 145 of Cr.P.C.," he said.

Mr. Sharraf said the police had asked both Srilakshmi and her in-laws to maintain status quo and seek court orders to prove their claims.

Action sought

Meanwhile, representatives of nearly 20 organisations expressed solidarity with Srilakshmi by staging a dharna in front of the Penamaluru mandal revenue office. In the demonstration that lasted for over two hours, women raised slogans demanding suspension of the MRO, the assistant commissioner of police and the SI handling the case. They also wanted the police to allow Srilakshmi to live in her house.

State secretary of Andhra Pradesh Mahila Samakhya P. Durga Bhavani said on behalf of Srilakshmi, that her father had filed a petition with the MRO on Friday seeking revocation of Section 145.

MP's visit

Vijayawada MP L. Rajagopal visited the place and advised Srilakshmi to occupy the ground floor until the dispute was resolved. But she remained unrelenting and insisted that she be allowed to occupy the portion from where she was necked out.

Srilakshmi continued her indefinite hunger strike on the fourth consecutive day outside her house in Kanuru, demanding that she be allowed to stay in her house, which was locked and sealed by the police and the revenue departments.

Villagers' support

Srilakshmi's hunger strike has united leaders of different parties in her native village, Ventrapragada in Pedaparumudi mandal.

Cutting across party lines, leaders of different parties in the village have come together to launch relay hunger strike in the village to express solidarity with her. In a statement released to the media, they said Srilakshmi was a native of the village and was being harassed by her in-laws.