Rape of 7YO: How Prakasam SP Mallika Garg worked tirelessly to ensure death sentence for accused

In an interview with NewsMeter, Mallika Garg, SP of Prakasam district, who worked closely on this case, discussed the measures to ensure safety for women. 

By Anoushka Williams  Published on  26 Jan 2023 3:31 AM GMT
Rape of 7YO: How Prakasam SP Mallika Garg worked tirelessly to ensure death sentence for accused

On July 8, 2021, when a girl was playing in front of her house with her friends, the accused lured her with chocolates and took her into his house. When he raped the girl, she started screaming in pain. He hit her head against the frame of the cot. She received severe grievous injuries and died on the spot. Fearing arrest, the accused wrapped the girl’s body in a plastic cover and threw it into an underground drainage canal on the outskirts of the village. Three days later, the accused was nabbed and brought to court. After 18 months of trial, he was sentenced to death on January 25.

In an interview with NewsMeter, Mallika Garg, SP of Prakasam district, who worked closely on this case, discussed the measures to ensure safety for women. Excerpts:

What were the hurdles faced by the investigating officers while gathering evidence in this case?

The main problem with missing cases of children is that there is no way to track them because they don’t usually have phones. As time passes, it becomes more difficult to trace a child. The next day we found a dead body in a drainage canal and it happened to be of the same girl who was missing. We had a body but no suspects. Once the news spread, pressure mounts to nab the culprit. This was one of those cases that did not have any clues in the initial stages. Even during a crisis, police have to stay calm and concentrate on the investigation. Our final challenge was the trial. We wanted it to be scheduled quickly through the prosecutor. Finally, we made sure that the family got compensation from the government to avoid compromise.

How long did it take you to close the trail and get justice for the girl?

This specific case took us 18 months. There have been other cases in 2022 in which justice has been served sooner. Some cases take 5 years or more. It depends on the investigation, the trials, and of course the court. Justice delayed is Justice denied, we try our best for that not to happen.

What measures you are taking to deter someone from commuting such crimes?

People nowadays know that punishment is possible and it is very severe. This is the first and best deterrence. We have an incredible reporting system in Andhra Pradesh like ‘dial 100’ and the ‘Disha SOS’ app which people use during exigencies. This app has led to the saving of many lives just by the click of a button.

What efforts are being taken to ensure the safety of women and children in your district?

We hold awareness programs about the POCSO act. Our state government has a system that ensures that every village secretariat has a Mahila police, especially for women’s safety. Mahila Police are in charge of spreading awareness, reporting such crimes, and patrolling the places that are not considered safe for women. We also prepare rowdy sheets of all POCSO act offenders.

How many POCSO cases you have personally dealt with?

This is the third that I have monitored in which we have got a conviction. POCSO cases have been numerous but this is one of the few in which the offender has been convicted. Many cases are still in different stages of the trial.

Tell us a little about your background and journey to becoming an IPS officer.

I belong to the 2015 batch and I’m from Delhi. I did my B-Tech in computer science from IT Delhi. My husband is also an SP of a neighboring district in Andhra Pradesh. My father was also an IPS officer. He retired last year from the Delhi Police. I moved here after my marriage. Before that, I was working in West Bengal. This is my first posting as SP and I have been here since July 2021.

What are the few goals that you would like to achieve in Prakasam district?

We have already done a good job of reducing deaths in road accidents. The number of fatal cases in the district in 2022 was lesser than in 2019 and 2020. Every time an accident occurs, we analyze the causes. I also want to focus on two-wheelers and the importance of wearing a helmet. Another goal is to have more convictions.

What advice you would like to give aspiring IPS officers?

I would like to tell them to be focused on why they want to get into this field. Be extremely clear about what you want to do so that you are not confused later. It is an exceptional job if done sincerely and with dedication. You can make a colossal difference in the lives of people and society as a whole.

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