Vakapalli rape: Victims move HC for swift trial

HYDERABAD: Nine tribal women from Vakapalli village of G Madugula mandal of Visakhaptnam agency area, the alleged victims of the infamous Vakapalli gang rape case, have approached the Hyderabad High Court seeking appointment of a public prosecutor and assistant public prosecutor to conduct trial in the case in a special court at Visakhapatnam. They said in their petition that the SC/ ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act allows them to have the lawyers of their choice as public prosecutors and questioned the inaction of the Andhra Pradesh government in appointing them despite representations from them.
According to them, as many as 21greyhounds policemen came to their village on August 20, 2007 and raped them in the village. The women filed a complaint in the Paderu police station. However, the policemen denied it. Due to various issues raised, the matter has reached various courts and finally the High Court allowed the authorities to take the case forward against 13 policemen after deleting eight names from the list of accused. Even after that, things did not move forward and finally in September this year, the Supreme Court found fault with the authorities for delaying the trial for ten years and directed them to complete the same within six months. The case was later shifted from Paderu court to a special court in Visakhapatnam. Though the forensic science reports have said that there were no probabilities of rape committed, the women were saying that the system is not responding with the required seriousness as the accused in the case were policemen.
Stating that they are not conversant with the ways of the courts, the women are now seeking appointment of Dr Palla Trinadh Rao an advocate from Rajahmundry as special public prosecutor and Jahara, a woman advocate from Visakhapatnam as assistant public prosecutor for conducting the trial in the case. We have faith in them and we want them to conduct the trial, they said. In their plea, they said that Trinadh Rao has 30 years of experience in legal field and has a deep understanding of tribal life. Jahara is equipped with considerable experience in criminal courts, they said. Our well wishers told us that the act allows us to seek such appointment. But our representations have not yielded any result so far, the women said in their plea.

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