Vakapalli case: As govt delays public prosecutor’s appointment, victims cry foul

The Vishakapatnam Collector is expected to make the appointment of the public prosecutor.
Vakapalli case: As govt delays public prosecutor’s appointment, victims cry foul
Vakapalli case: As govt delays public prosecutor’s appointment, victims cry foul
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The fate of the survivors in the infamous Vakapalli gang rape case hangs in the balance, as the government is yet to clear the appointment of the public prosecutor. 

The judge of the 11th Additional District Sessions Judge-cum-special Court under the SC, ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act in Vishakhapatnam has adjourned the first hearing of the case to January 25.

The Hyderabad high court had recently accepted the petition of the victims to have a public prosecutor of their choice according to SC/ST POA Act Sec 4&5. The court in the first week of January directed the Visakhapatnam district Collector to appoint Palla Trinadha Rao as public prosecutor. 

The special court at Vishakapatnam is yet to receive the official communication on Trinadha Rao’s appointment, despite the High Court order on the same.

Earlier, the senior advocate Palla Trinadha Rao was arrested by the Gangaraju Madugula police in Visakhapatnam while he was travelling along with a journalist to Vakapalli. 

Members of Human Rights Forum, Mahila Chetana, Progressive Organisation for Women, CLC and other civil rights activists have termed it as a deliberate attempt to target him since he was fighting the case for the victims. They have alleged that police planted a cover with photographs of those accused in the case in his car and seized his papers and mobile phone after arresting him under Section 108 Cr.PC.

Speaking to TNM, advocate Vasuda Nagaraj said "They (victims) feel that their choice is being kept away intentionally.”

She also said that they are waiting for the appointment of P Trinadha Rao as Public Prosecutor and Vishakapatnam Collector is expected to make the appointment.

Alleging that police are making efforts to subvert the judicial procedure and trying to get away from the "crime", adivasis from Vakapalli and activists took out a rally in G Madugula, seeking justice.

Speaking to TNM, VS Krishna of Human Rights Forum said, "It is a shame on the government that even after more than 10 years, it is failing to deliver justice to the survivors. It is a shame that Adivasis had to protest even for implementation of court orders.”

On August 20, 2007, in undivided Andhra Pradesh, 11 Adivasi women belonging to Kondh tribe of Vakapalli village in the Nurmati panchayat of the Agency area, in Visakhapatnam, were allegedly gang raped by the Greyhounds personnel (an elite anti-naxal force) at gunpoint. Of the 11 rape survivors, two died subsequently.

In September 2017, the Supreme Court had ordered a speedy trial of the case. A two-judge bench ruled that the Special Court in Visakhapatnam must hear the case every day and conclude it within six months.

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