Jana Sena Party (JSP) president Pawan Kalyan is all set to undertake a two-day tour of Kurnool district in Andhra Pradesh from February 12. Pawan is planning to lead a protest rally to highlight the brutal rape and murder of a 15-year-old girl in 2017, and demand justice in her case.
However, it has not been without controversy as members of the Rayalaseema Yuvajana Vidyarthi Sangala (a studentsâ€™ group) - Joint Action Committee (JAC) have opposed his visit to the district, highlighting Pawan's stand against setting up a judicial capital in Kurnool town. They have demanded an apology from the actor-politician.
As protests were staged against him earlier, the JSP chief is alleged to have said that students and youths are having time to protest against him, but not having time to fight for justice to the rape victim.
Speaking to TNM, B Sriramulu, Convenor of the JAC, said, "Pawan Kalyan humiliated people of Rayalaseema by calling us goondas and factionists. He blamed us for the bifurcation of the state and for Amaravati losing its capital status. How can he come to Kurnool after opposing judicial capital to the region?"
He further added, "We won't oppose his visit if he withdraws his statements against the judicial capital in Kurnool and apologises to the Rayalaseema people for hurting our sentiments."
Highlighting the statement that Pawan Kalyan reportedly made, Sriramulu said, "He accused us of not fighting for justice for the victim. He must know that it happened in 2017 and we fought until the accused was arrested, but he kept silent for two years on the matter. Now, he is just trying to use the issue for political mileage."
Geeta* was found dead under mysterious circumstances in her hostel room in the Cattamanchi Ramalinga Reddy Residential High School on August 19, 2017, in the outskirts of Kurnool.
For close to two years, the investigation into the case made no headway despite evidence of sexual assault of the minor girl.
A five-member committee formed after Geetaâ€™s death, which submitted its report on September 13, 2017, had also noted that there were several discrepancies in the investigation of the case.
In October last year, after the parents of the victim met with Pawan Kalyan and state Home Minister M Sucharitha, the government initiated a fresh probe and appointed a Special Investigation Team (SIT).