Amid outrage over the rape and murder of a veterinary doctor in Hyderabad, a similar incident was reported in Komaram Bheem Asifabad district recently where villagers accused the police of inaction against the accused despite their complaints.
On November 24, a Dalit woman was waylaid by the three accused while she was walking on a lonely stretch between Yellapatur and Ramayana Thanda villages in Lingapur mandal. The accused, Sheikh Babu, Sheikh Maqdoom and Sheikh Shabuddin, took her to a nearby forest area and allegedly raped her. When she resisted attempts to strangle her, they allegedly stabbed her several times and slit her throat, police said.
Dalit and tribal organisations protested against the gangrape and murder even as villagers of Lingapur and Jainoor mandals accused the police of not taking any preventive action against the accused.
“The three accused belong to Yellapatur and are addicted to drugs and alcohol. They are teak wood smugglers. They are notorious for misbehaving with women and have made several attempts to kidnap tribal women working alone in the forests. They were fined several times by the village panchayat, and in spite of police complaints, they (police) did nothing,” said Teku Navin, a member of Jainoor Adivasi Sangh.
The woman worked as a hawker along with her husband, who lodged a police complaint after searching for her for a few hours on November 24. Police found her body the next day. Based on forensic reports, police said that she was raped and killed and her body dumped in the bushes.
However, Komaram Bheem Asifabad SP P Malla Reddy said that there was no actionable complaint against the accused earlier. “Their village sarpanch had fined them a couple of times for misbehaving and creating nuisance but there was no police complaint,” he said.
The three accused were arrested on November 27. “Maqdoom has a criminal record. He was arrested for robbery earlier. All three smuggle teak wood and make money and spend the entire day taking drugs or alcohol. They are known as criminal elements in the village and villagers said that they misbehave with women but there was no complaint to take any kind of action against them,’’ Lingapur sub-inspector N Venkatesh said.