Scores of people gathered on the streets of Vijayawada on Saturday to protest the delay of the Special Investigation Team (SIT) in probing the murder of Ayesha Meera.
Ayesha Meera, a 17-year-old pharmacy student from Vijayawada, was brutally raped and killed on 27 December, 2007. Her body was found outside the toilet on the second floor of the Sri Durga Ladies Hostel in Ibrahimpatnam, where she was staying.
Several organisations held a protest, holding posters with Ayesha's photo, along with a large banner on which they collected signatures.
Many passers-by, including students and auto rickshaw drivers, actively participated in the signature campaign.
Anjaneyulu T from the Andhra Pradesh Civil Liberties Committee (APCLC) said, "This probe must find the killers of Ayesha. The delay has already given a lot of time for the culprits to escape â€¦ This is resulting in a delay in justice."
Ganga Bavani from the Progressive Women's Association said, "The government is postponing starting the probe, despite High Court orders. We demand immediate commencement of the investigation."
Others who had gathered asked authorities not to victimise innocent people like Satyam Babu.
Last month, a division bench of the Hyderabad High Court ordered a reinvestigation into the sensational case.
The court said that the investigation must be done under its purview and that the first SIT report must be submitted by April 28.
In August 2008, almost a year after she was killed and after the State Human Rights Commission (SHRC) took up the case, the police arrested Satyam Babu.
Satyam Babu was arrested in a cell phone robbery case on August 17 that year, and the police claimed that he had confessed to Ayeshaâ€™s murder during interrogation.
In 2010, the Mahila Sessions Court in Vijayawada sentenced him to life imprisonment for Ayeshaâ€™s rape and murder.
Ayeshaâ€™s parents had earlier alleged that relatives of former state Municipal Administration Minister Koneru Ranga Rao were involved in the rape and murder, and that the police had pinned the crime on Satyam Babu to misdirect the investigation.
In April 2017, Satyam Babu was acquitted by the Hyderabad High Court. The court also ordered action to be taken against the police officials who investigated the case.