The first meeting of ‘Sathyam Babu and Ayesha Meera Nyaya Porata Committee’ (formed by Dalit, Muslim, Human Rights and other people’s organizations to achieve justice for both victims) will be held on September 14th in the Progressive Media Services premises, Hyderaguda, Hyderabad at 3 p.m.
Ayesha Meera, a B. Pharmacy student was raped and brutally murdered on the night of 27th December, 2007, in a private Women’s Hostel in Ibrahimpatnam, Kothur2 (Village and Mandal) of Krishna District of Andhra Pradesh.
Ayesha’s room was in a common hall (partitioned into rooms) on the 2nd floor of the hostel building. There were other students in the adjoining rooms in the common hall so there was no possibility of anybody entering that room via the steps (or by climbing up the exterior walls of the building), without being noticed. The way to the steps of the building are protected by an iron mesh which is usually kept locked with the keys in the custody of the warden of the Hostel, Smt. I. Padma and her husband who also reside on the ground floor of the said building.
The investigation of the horrific crime was being delayed for unexplained reasons creating doubts in the minds of the public that there was political interference and pressure on the police to save the offenders. Those doubts had cropped up because the name of Koneru Satish Babu, Surpanch of Gudavalli village, and grandson of the late Koneru Ranga Rao, Minister of Municipal Administration, Government of Andhra Pradesh, had come into the picture as, allegedly, the prime accused in the said case.
In fact, villagers of Ibrahimpatnam and the residents nearby and people who had visited the scene of crime, including Mr.Yousuf Qureshi, Chairman, AP State Minorities Commission and Smt. Nirmala Venkatesh, Member, National Commission for Women, had expressed the doubt that without the connivance of the Warden and other insiders, the crime could not have happened. Further, Smt. Nirmala Venkatesh, also suggested that the Warden, her husband and one Ch. Madhavarao, MPP, who was said to have been present at the scene of crime before the arrival of the police, should undergo Narco analysis tests. The public at large applauded the response shown by Nirmala Venkatesh as her analysis and opinion seemed to have explained the circumstances of the case and also coincided with the public opinion of that area.
As the police were unable to trace the culprits even four months after the incident, the public started developing doubts about the sincerity, honesty and efficiency of the police and the State Government.
In March 2008, the police arrested one Gurvinder Singh alias Laddu, in the coastal city of Visakhapatnam and brought him to Vijayawada to produce him before the court, He had allegedly murdered another college student and a watchwoman of a ladies’ hostel.
The parents of Ayesha Meera and the local public, Muslim leaders and Women’s Organizations alleged that the Police was trying to divert the process by arresting Gurvinder Singh alias Laddu to save the real culprits.
The police failed to identify the guilty despite questioning over 50 people. Also, DNA and other tests were carried out on more than a dozen suspects including the owner of the private hostel.
The case drew wide attention as various women’s and students’ organizations took to the streets demanding justice for Ayesha’s family.
Ayesha’s parents alleged that the police were deliberately going slow as the accused had political connections. After eight months of intrigue and drama the police dropped Gurvinder Singh alias Laddu and cooked up another story and arrested a 20-year-old Dalit boy, Pidathala Satyam Babu, a part-time construction worker from Nandigama sub-division of Krishna district, saying that he had raped and murdered Ayesha Meera.
The police deliberately chose Sathyam Babu as he was a soft target because he belonged to a poor Dalit family and had no father. There was nobody to speak up for him. From the time of arrest the police have, allegedly, been trying to kill him to close the case and to protect the real culprits.
According to a physiotherapist who treated Sathyam Babu several times in Vijayawada, Sathyam Babu’s spinal chord was damaged due to police torture which led to Guillain–Barré syndrome and caused chronic sensor motor axonal neuropathy, which means that his legs are paralyzed and he can’t walk even small distances.
The police had concocted another story, subsequently, alleging that he had escaped from custody, an impossible feat given his condition, raising doubts about a conspiracy to kill him. To cover up that implausible story, the police again came out with another story of arresting him again after escape. The escape and arrest story is nothing but a damage control exercise done by the police bowing to pressure from the media and various civil rights groups.
The police originally planned to kill Satyam Babu in an encounter. Since human rights and Dalit rights organizations took up the issue seriously and launched agitations across the State, the police were left with no option but to cook up another story stating that they caught him at Jaggayyapeta.
Why did the police first arrest Gurvinder Singh alias Laddu and later frame charges against Satyam Babu in this case? The police are misleading every civil rights organization right from the beginning. The ‘missing’ episode is just another trick played by the police.
Satyam Babu’s mother cried foul at the alleged escape-and-arrest incident, and demanded to know how a person who can’t even walk properly (Satyam Babu was in a wheelchair) escape? Meanwhile, Ayesha’s father is insisting that Satyam Babu is not his daughter’s murderer.
But the judiciary and the police are continuing with the trial of the case against Sathyam Babu. The judge also posted the case for judgment without permitting defense lawyers to cross- examine the witnesses. As of now, the cross-examination of the witnesses is going on as the judge permitted the cross examination on the direction of the high court and the case is posted for arguments.
In this case, both the accused and the complainant are victims. So NAVAYANA (A Society for Social Transformation) organized a public meeting on 2nd September 2010 in Press Club, Basheerbagh, Hyderabad. In this meeting, organizations like Ambedkar Youth Association, Andhra Pradesh Civil Liberties Committee, Human Rights Forum, Kula Nirmoolana Porata Samithi, Confederation of SC ST Organizations, Dalit Stree Shakthi, Telangana Ambedkar Sangam, and about 70 like-minded individuals participated and unanimously decided to form Sathyam Babu Ayesha Meera Nyaya Porata Committee to achieve justice for both the victims.
The committee’s first meeting will be held on 14th September in Progressive Media Services premises, Hyderaguda, Hyderabad at 3 p.m.
All are requested to be a part of this meeting to discuss the future course of action.
On behalf of Sathyam Babu and Ayesha Meera Nyaya Porata Committee, Hyderabad.