Kurnool: A day after police shot dead the four accused in Disha’s gang rape in an encounter, families of other rape victims demanded instant justice on similar lines. Among many rapes reported in the two Telugu states, the case of Kurnool girl speaks of greater brutality.
Netizens criticised Kurnool police for inaction in Sumathi Preethi’s (name changed) case. The victim was raped in 2017, at Cattamanchi Ramalinga Reddy High School’s hostel. Though the post-mortem report indicated semen in her genitals, the police closed the case calling it a “suicide”. The more important question here is how a person can hang herself while her feet were touching the ground.
Evidence from the crime scene and the final report indicated it to be a rape-murder. Following the incident, the then Kurnool district Collector S Satyanarayana constituted a three-member committee, comprising RDO Hussain Saheb, DEO Tahera Sultana, and Deputy Director-Social Welfare Prasada Rao. The team, then, visited the crime spot at Cattamanchi Ramalinga Reddy High School.
A probe was ordered into the suspicious death of the SSC student. Months into the probe, police closed the case calling it a suicide rather than a rape. The victim’s mother claimed that the girl had wounds on her legs and hands, but the school management termed it suicide as well. The mother continues to demand the arrest of the accused.
When this correspondent asked about the progress of the two-year-old case, the girl’s mother told NewsMeter that there were discrepancies. “The doctors who carried out the post-mortem were threatened not to reveal any details, and the medical team was asked to change the report,” she said.
The mother alleged that Deputy Secretary (Medical and Health) Raju had demanded a bribe of Rs 5 lakh to alter the report. An expert committee comprising Dr Shamshad Begum, Dr Myreddi Neeraja, and Dr Lakshminarayana — professor and head of the forensic department of Kurnool Medical College — had prepared the report. “Professor Lakshminarayana altered the reports prepared by Dr Baleswari and Dr R Shankar, who established that it was a murder,” said the mother.
Kurnool IV Town police had registered a case under Section 302. They also invoked provisions of SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act and POCSO Act against school chairman V Janardhan Reddy and his sons on August 19, 2017.
The girl’s family and supporters have claimed that the police have been coerced into not making the arrests of TDP Nandikotkur constituency-in-charge Mandra Sivananda Reddy, the then HRD Minister Ganta Srinivasa Rao and other TDP leaders.
DMEs Dr Subba Rao and Dr Sashank forwarded the report submitted by a three-member expert committee to the then Principal Secretary (Health) Poonam Malakondaiah. Interestingly, the expert committee stated that the girl was not murdered, and it was suicide.
Dr Shankar later changed the report. He was asked to incorporate the fact that the girl has committed suicide. However, the doctor stated that he had carried out post-mortem for three hours and found that she was raped and murdered.