Data: Rachakonda saw 61 convictions in POCSO cases since 2017

The Rachakonda police claim that in fact, they have the highest convictions in major cases, including POCSO cases, and stand first in Telangana in terms of convictions

By Nimisha S Pradeep  Published on  27 July 2022 3:07 AM GMT
Data: Rachakonda saw 61 convictions in POCSO cases since 2017

Trigger warning

Hyderabad: On 8 May 2019, a seven-year-old boy was walking down a road, holding a Rs. 50 currency note in his hand, when he was kidnapped by Omer Bin Hassan (25). Omer, who was addicted to ganja and gutkha, was unmarried. He lured the boy by offering him chocolates and then sexually assaulted him. The boy wailed but Omer held him tightly and continued assaulting him. The boy cried out again but this only angered Omer who then lifted the boy and threw him on the ground several times. The boy died on the spot.

Hearing the boy's cries, some of the locals rushed to the spot and saw Omer, but they could not catch him. He fled the scene.In July 2021, Omer was convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment. A fine of Rs. 7,000 was imposed against him.

The Hajipur horror

On 25 April 2019, a 14-year-old girl was on her way to her village and was waiting for a vehicle at Bommalaramaram mandal in Hajipur when Marri Srinivas Reddy (27) offered her a lift. He took the girl to a well located adjacent to his village and attempted to sexually assault her. The girl cried out but Srinivas covered her mouth and nose; she fell unconscious. He then dumped her in a dry well known as Teete Bavi that belonged to him. Later, he got down into the well and raped her. He then strangled her to death with her scarf. Srinivas buried her body along with her clothes and belongings in the same well.

During the investigation, the police found that Srinivas was a habitual rapist and murderer. They unearthed the bodies of two other girls he had raped and murdered in a similar manner in Bommalaramaramam in April 2015 and March 2019. During the trial, the Additional District Judge (ADJ) and Nalgonda POCSO court convicted Srinivas and gave him the death penalty. They also awarded Rs. 10 lakhs compensation in the two 2019 cases and life imprisonment along with Rs. 5 lakhs compensation in the 2015 case.

Convictions in POCSO cases

A total of 61 convictions have taken place in the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) cases in Rachakonda Commissionerate since 2017. From January to May 2022, there were four convictions. The highest number of convictions in POCSO cases took place in 2019 and 2021 – 15 cases – followed by 11 in 2017 and 10 in 2020. There were six convictions in 2018. Out of the 61 convictions, in a majority of the cases (28 cases) jail terms of up to three years were handed to the accused. In 10 cases, the accused were given life imprisonment, while two were sentenced to death in POCSO cases since 2017.

The Rachakonda police claim that in fact, they have the highest convictions in major cases, including POCSO cases, and stand first in Telangana in terms of convictions. Major crimes include murder, dowry deaths, dacoity, robbery, and POSCO. In 2018, the conviction rate was 55% for these major crimes, in 2019 it was 66%, in 2020 it was 68.57%, and in 2021 it was 70%. It is also important to note that the number of cases heard was less in the last two years due to the pandemic.

Explaining the reason for the higher number of convictions in Rachakonda, commissioner Mahesh Bhagwat said, "In Rachakonda, from the beginning, we have a system of close coordination between the investigation officer, public prosecutor, and the court duty officers. Another important thing is the court trial monitoring. In all important cases, DCPs, ACPs, and SHOs conduct mock trials to ensure that witnesses do not turn hostile. Either the investigating officer or an officer not below the rank of sub-inspector of police attends the trial in all POCSO cases."

He added, "One woman police officer is deployed to assist the prosecuting officers to brief and refresh the memories of all women victims." He further said that in case of repeated offences, the Rachakonda police seek a preventive detention order for the accused.

However, considering the number of cases every year, the number of convictions is not very significant. On average, around 300 POCSO cases are reported every year in Rachakonda but the convictions are around 10 cases (average). Jagadeesh, Rachakonda ACP, said not all registered cases go to trial and some end up in a compromise through compensation or marriage.

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