The Visakhapatnam Police on Sunday arrested six people for allegedly killing a 20-year-old woman, who had been employed by one of the accused for sex work. The woman, who hailed from Ravulapalem town in East Godavari district, had been living in Visakhapatnam for almost a year, according to IV Town Police.
Police said that a dispute arose between the woman and the prime accused Vasantha, when she questioned her employer over unfair payment of wages. The woman allegedly questioned Vasantha as to why she was withholding a large portion of her earnings. âThe victim threatened to leave, saying she was unhappy with being paid too little. She was then confined and tortured by Vasantha and the accomplices,â police said.
While details of the post mortem report have not been revealed, police said upon questioning the accused, they learnt that Vasantha and the other five accused allegedly physically tortured her by heating a metal object and burning her with it. âThey had shaved her eyebrows and tonsured her hair to stop her from leaving,â police said.
The police arrested the six suspects on Sunday, Vasantha, her sister Manju and mother Dhanalakshmi, her associate Sanjay, Kumari alias Geeta, who was allegedly involved in sex work as well as trafficking and Kantaveni, the victimâs aunt.
They have been booked under sections 302 (punishment for murder), 201 (causing disappearance of evidence of offence), 343 (wrongful confinement for three or more days), 324 (voluntarily causing hurt by dangerous weapons or means), 326 (voluntarily causing grievous hurt by dangerous weapons or means) read with 120B (punishment of criminal conspiracy) and 34 (acts done by several persons in furtherance of common intention) of the Indian Penal Code, as well as the relevant sections of the The Immoral Traffic (Prevention) Act.
The IV Town police reportedly received an anonymous tip about the suspicious death on Thursday, and intercepted the body before it was cremated so as to erase any evidence.
The Hindu reported that the body was taken to King George Hospital for an autopsy.
Earlier in April, a collective of survivors of sex trafficking and commercial sexual exploitation in the state, had written to Chief Minister Jagan seeking support during the lockdown. The letter mentioned that Andhra Pradesh is considered a âsupply stateâ for women and children, with more than 266 women trafficked in 2018 according to NCRB (National Crime Records Bureau) data.
Based on a study of 567 cases filed between 2015 and 2017, the statement also said that the Andhra Pradesh government had a poor conviction rate of 1.2 % in punishing traffickers.