Rape of democracy in Andhra village

HT Correspondent

Hyderabad, July 30

WHEN 27-YEAR-OLD Malamma of Navvula thanda in Nalgonda district went to bed on July 26, she had no inkling of what fate had in store for her. Barely four hours later, her world lay shattered.

A group of armed men raided the hamlet around midnight, and after brutally beating up Malamma's family members, dragged her behind a bush and repeatedly raped her, and another woman, Tulasi (25).

And why? The villagers had apparently "not voted for the ruling TDP candidate in the recently held mandal polls." As a result, the candidate -- Saheb Hussain -- lost by merely two votes. On July 18, the day the results were announced, he allegedly swore revenge on the hamlet.

The victims' family members said the candidate had even given each voter Rs 100 on the eve of the polls to ensure his victory.

According to a delegation from Lok Satta, (a peoples movement striving for electoral reforms), that visited the victims at the government hospital in Suryapet, the criminals "left cigarette butt and knife marks on the victims."

Malamma even received severe head injuries. She was shifted to the Osmania General Hospital, Hyderabad today in a "critical condition."

The victim's family members did not lodge a complaint with the police immediately after the incident as the attackers had threatened them.

The matter came to light only after the women were admitted to the hospital in a serious condition and the opposition parties and Lok Satta took up their cause.

In their statement to the Mandal Revenue officer of Nutankal, the victims identified two of the perpetrators. But police have not arrested anyone so far. In fact, the local police issued a statement that incident could be the handiwork of a gang of robber active in the area.

The incident has caused outrage in political circles. State Congress president M Satyanarayan Rao strongly condemned the 'savage acts of Telugu Desam goondas.' Leader of the CPM in the Assembly, N Narasimhaiah visited the victims and demanded stringent action against the perpetrators. AP State Tribal Association secretary G Ramachandra Naik urged the government to provide compensation to the victims.

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Referred by: Mukundan CM
Published on: July 30, 2001
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