Ayesha Meera rape-murder: 15 years on, parents continue fight, will move SC

"There were days when our second daughter received death threats and some unknown people tried to bribe us to keep calm. Even when the government officers visited us and asked 'What do you want?' we said 'We want justice.'" said Ayesha's mother, Shamshad Begum.

By Sri Lakshmi Muttevi  Published on  27 Dec 2022 1:05 PM GMT
Ayesha Meera rape-murder: 15 years on, parents continue fight, will move SC

Vijayawada: Fifteen years after 17-year-old pharmacy student Ayesha Meera was raped and murdered inside her hostel in Vijayawada on 27 December 2007, her parents still wait for justice. Continuing their fight, they are set to file a petition in the Supreme Court soon.

What happened in 2007?

Ayesha Meera had been living in a private women's hostel in Ibrahimpatnam near Vijayawada. On 27 December 2007, her blood-stained body was found in the hostel bathroom with multiple stab injuries. A letter dropped by the "murderer" stated that the girl was raped and murdered for refusing his request for "love." Since then, Koneru Sateesh, the grandson of the then municipal administration minister and former Deputy Chief Minister Koneru Ranga Rao, has been suspected of being involved.

In 2008, P. Satyam Babu, a Dalit man, was awarded 14 years in jail by the Vijayawada women's special sessions court under section 302 of the IPC for murder and 10 years of rigorous imprisonment under section 376 of the IPC for rape. The court ruled that both jail terms would run concurrently. In addition, the court ordered Satyam Babu to pay a fine of Rs. 1,000 or undergo six months in jail. Satyam Babu's relatives, human rights activists, and Ayesha's parents alleged that the police tried to eliminate him to shield the real culprits in the case.

The judgment

Satyam Babu suffers from a neurological disorder and both his legs are paralysed. The doctors at the Nizam's Institute of Medical Sciences (NIMS) confirmed that he could hardly walk. Even the victim's parents rejected the police's claim that Babu had murdered Ayesha, and they alleged that the police were trying tried to save some politically influential people.

In its judgment of 31 March 2017, the Telangana High Court not only acquitted the accused in the murder case but also awarded him Rs. 1 lakh compensation for imprisoning him for eight years. The court said it was inhuman on the part of the police and ordered action against the officials responsible for Satyam Babu's arrest and confinement.

The unsolved case

Ayesha Meera's parents wrote an open letter to the then Chief Justice of India N.V Ramana seeking justice for their daughter. They said that Satyam Babu was falsely convicted and later acquitted by the Telangana High Court. Ayesha's parents alleged that the police arrested Satyam Babu only so they could let Koneru Satish, the grandson of former deputy CM Koneru Ranga Rao, of the case. Her parents said Koneru Satish and his friends were regular visitors to the girls' hostel as it was owned by his relative Konera Padma.

In the letter to the CJI, Ayesha Meera's parents said, "We are both teachers. Instead of keeping our daughter confined to live at home in a burkha, we wanted education and progress and sent her away. In return, we got her body. Since then, for 14 years, we have continued our uncompromised fight for justice with faith in the systems."

The state government constituted a Special Investigation Team (SIT) to conduct a fresh probe into the case. However, unhappy with the SIT's probe, the High Court handed over the case to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) in November 2018.

The fight continues

Tuesday marked 15 years since Ayesha's death. Her parents will not stop their fight. Speaking to NewsMeter, Ayesha's mother, Shamshad Begum, said, "It has been 15 years since my daughter died, but there has been no progress in the case. The CBI officials in December 2019 questioned us again, took our DNA samples, and requested for a re-postmortem. Though our family head did not allow us to dig the buried body, a re-postmortem was conducted on court orders. This was done on 14 December 2019, and the report was to be given in a month. Four years passed, but no report has been submitted to the High Court. Even my daughter's body parts have not been returned to us. We will soon approach the Supreme Court and fight until we get justice."

She added, "There were days when our second daughter received death threats and some unknown people tried to bribe us to keep calm. Even when the government officers visited us and asked 'What do you want?' we said 'We want justice.'"

She said that the hostel management, police, and political leaders tampered with the evidence. When they questioned the officials, the said the case was transferred to Visakhapatnam. While the Ayesha Meera case happened during the then Chief Minister Y.S Raja Sekhar Reddy's regime, Shamshad Begum said his son and current Chief Minister Y.S Jagan Mohan Reddy should take up the case under the new Disha Act and give her daughter true justice.

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