Less than a week after a young woman was gangraped and murdered in a village in the SPS Nellore district of Andhra Pradesh, police have arrested five men in relation to the crime. Thirty-year-old Saeeda (name changed), who was born with intellectual disability, was raped and murdered on the night of January 5 in the Chavatapalem village. Police have arrested five men, Sai (20), Venkatesh (22), Sarath (24), Vinod (22), and Lakshmaiah (26) in the case.
On the night of January 5, a Sunday, Saeeda had stepped out of her house around 8 pm to buy some groceries. According to Gudur Rural Sub-Inspector Pulla Rao, the shops were shut and the streets were isolated as it had been raining the night before. The prime accused, Sai, saw Saeeda alone and convinced her to accompany him to a deserted house nearby, the SI said.
“He took her there and tried to rape her, but as she began to scream, he hit her on the head with a rock to silence her. He then moved her to another house where her screams were less likely to be heard. Here, he was joined by the four other accused,” said SI Pulla Rao. After gangraping her, the men left Saeeda in the deserted building and escaped, according to the police.
Saeeda’s brother, who had been looking for her the entire night, managed to trace her body in the morning and approached the Gudur Rural police. Police have booked the men for gangrape and murder.
The Andhra Pradesh Legislative Assembly recently passed two Bills to amend the Indian Penal Code and the Code of Criminal Procedure that will enable expeditious investigation and trial of offences against women and children - especially sexual offences – within 21 days. It also allows for awarding death penalty to those found guilty of rape and gangrape.
The law has been named the 'Andhra Pradesh Disha Act Criminal Law (AP Amendment) Act 2019’, as a tribute to the veterinary doctor gangraped and murdered last year in neighbouring Telangana. Disha (name changed) was raped and killed in the outskirts of Hyderabad on November 26, 2019. Four suspects in the case were arrested on November 28 and killed in a reported encounter by the Telangana police on December 6.
Two women officers, Dr Kritika Shukla, IAS, and IPS officer M Deepika, have been appointed as Disha Special officers to implement the Disha Act, which enables speedy investigation and trial within 21 days, and includes stringent punishment, including death penalty, for those accused of crimes against women.
The Assembly also passed another Bill that provides for constitution of exclusive special courts for speedy trial of specified offences against women and children. The proposed new legislation will enable setting up of one or more exclusive special courts in each district for expeditious trial of specified offences against women and children.