Police officials said the ‘verdict’ to kill Singanna was given by the illegal kangaroo court based on the primitive ‘talaku-tala’ (eye for an eye) method.

Police investigating case where Andhra tribal man was brutally murdered as ‘punishment’ by village kangaroo courtPolice investigating Singanna's killing in Seethampeta: YouTube/ABP Desam
news Crime Friday, June 03, 2022 - 17:46

A tribal man with mental health issues who was accused of murder was poisoned and hanged to death before his body was set ablaze by residents of an interior tribal village. According to a TNIE report, the incident happened at a village in Seethampeta mandal of Andhra’s Parvathipuram Manyam district on May 29. The atrocity was committed after a decision was taken by a kangaroo court — an unrecognised community group consisting of elders from Vusirikapadu and Regulaguda villages — gave the man the death penalty for his alleged crime.

According to the Palakonda division police, the kangaroo court ‘sentenced’ Singanna (33) to death after he allegedly killed Gaya (60) in a fit of rage on May 26, following a brawl with the latter’s daughter, Padma, in Regulaguda. Both Singanna and Gaya belong to the Savara tribe, which is identified as a Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Group (PVTG).

After Gaya’s murder, Regulaguda villagers reportedly locked Singanna up and informed his family members about the incident. They summoned them for a trial in the community panchayat. Following a two-day trial by the kangaroo court, the community elders ordered that Singanna be killed by his own family.

On the diktat of the elders, Singanna was forcibly fed rat poison, but as he did not die, he was hanged to death, after which his body was set on fire. Police investigation has revealed that the panchayat ordered Singanna be ‘punished’ (killed) before the completion of Gaya’s last rites.

The news of the brutal incident spread earlier this week, upon which the Palakonda Deputy Superintendent of Police (DySP) formed a special team to investigate. The police team had to go by foot to the mandal interiors where the incident took place and collect evidence. As many as 16 people from both villages, including members from Singanna’s family, have been arrested and sent to remand for murder and criminal conspiracy, besides other relevant sections of the IPC.

The police team also collected evidence from the respective burial grounds in both the villages in the presence of the local magistrate.

Speaking to TNM, the Palakonda DySP said, “We have arrested 16 people in the case and remanded them; further investigation is still happening. It is evident that this murder was the result of an illegal kangaroo court’s decision.”

Investigation officials said the ‘verdict’ to kill Singanna was given based on the primitive ‘talaku-tala’ (eye for an eye) method. Tribal rights activists and NGOs working with tribal communities say that such acts are done due to lack of education and the failure of the government in including tribals in development.

A researcher and activist working with an NGO said, “Most of these interior tribal areas still lack road and communication facilities. Unless there are roads and access to information, there is not much scope for these communities to be sensitised to laws and public systems.”

He further said, “The state should reach out to them and hold community sensitisation programmes besides encouraging the younger generation to study; this can help curtail such crimes.”

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