SC fast-tracks trial of Greyhounds cops for gunpoint rape of 11 Vakapalli tribal women ten years ago

SC fast-tracks trial of Greyhounds cops for gunpoint rape of 11 Vakapalli tribal women ten years ago


The Supreme Court on Friday ordered the fast-tracking of a case relating to the gang-rape of 11 tribal women by 13 Greyhounds personnel of the undivided Andhra Pradesh police back in 2007.

In doing so, it struck down an appeal by the police personnel challenging a magistrateʹs order, taking cognizance of the complaint of the victims.

A two-judge bench of the Supreme Court, comprising justices Arun Mishra and Shantana Goudar, ruled that the criminal trial must now be heard every day and concluded within six months. The judges expressed shock that the case has been dragged for 11 years, undermining the confidence of the tribal women in the criminal justice system.

The incident took place on August 20, 2007 in the tribal Agency area of Visakhapatnam district, in a tribal village named Vakkapalli in G Madugula mandal. Eleven women belonging to the Kondh tribe, a Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Group (PVTG), were allegedly gang-raped at gunpoint by Greyhounds personnel at 11 in morning when male members of the village were away in the fields. The Greyhounds personnel had gone to the village while carrying out a combing operation against Maoist rebels.

An FIR was lodged against the Greyhounds personnel under Sections 376 (ii) (g) of the Indian Penal Code IPC (gang rape) and Section 3 (2) (V) of the SC ST (Prevention of Atrocities Act) 1989. However, the police claimed the Maoists forced women to foist a gang-rape case against the Greyhounds personnel to malign their image.

The Andhra Pradesh Girijana Samakhya moved the AP High Court. But the High Court ruled that the medical examination of the victims showed no sign of rape. However, the victims said they were sent for medical examinations deliberately late to dilute the evidence.

ʹThe accused policemen have tried to use every legal tactic to ensure that the criminal trial does not begin and managed to halt it for a decade,ʹ said Human Rights Forum (HRF) general secretary V S Krishna. The womenʹs case was argued by advocates Vrinda Grover, Snehashish Mukherjee and Ratna Appnender.

Keywords : vakaplli, visakhapatnam, police, supreme court, adivasi women
(2018-10-21 21:18:16)

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