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Dominant caste landlords, police and Mafias attacked and destroyed the huts and property of poorer sections of the village, including many Dalits, in retaliation for the poorer sections occupying Government land and requesting land pattas. Madiga, Medara, Muslim, Sale, Vaddera and other poor communities have been trying to obtain house plots of Dalits for a long time. There is government land which is under the possession of dominant caste Kapus, and some which is not. As there was no response from the government to their numerous petitions, the poor sections of this village, under the banner of the Weaker Sections Federation, occupied government land on 2 – 3.10.2000 and 200 poor families, many Dalits, erected huts there. They selected land which was not owned by any landlords before erecting the huts and immediately brought this event to the notice of the MRO and requested land pattas. The MRO certified that the land which they had occupied was government land. An application was also submitted to the Collector.
Against this background, the dominant caste people were not able to tolerate these poor people constructing huts on government land and conspired to evict them form the land. As part of this conspiracy, they called Amhatipudi Padma, who was the leader of the poor people, and scolded her for interfering in village land issues. After 10 days, false cases were filed against her, she was arrested and sent to central jail at Rajahmundry. After the arrest of Padma, landlords and police, accompanied by Mafias, attacked the huts of the poor people, destroying property and beating up anyone they got their hands on, young and old. The Government, which had not responded to the long-pending house plot applications of the poor sections, joined hands with the landlords and demolished the huts. Notably, it is not only Dalits who had occupied government land, but also dominant caste people. If occupation of government land is illegal for Dalits other poorer sections, so should it be for the dominant castes. Dominant caste people thought that the poorer sections who occupied the government land would then try to occupy government land which is under their occupation in future and hence they conspired to put an end to any such movement. This is because the dominant caste people have to cross the plot in which Dalits erected their huts to reach their lands. This, they feel, checks their caste domination.
Geddada Lakshmi is the daughter of Veeraswamy and Aravalamma, belongs to Mala (SC) community. She had been living with her parents for the last two years in Gootala, as she lost her husband. She had two sons and one daughter. She was having an affair with a dominant caste man, Ramaraju. Lakshmi decided to work in a missionary school at Polavaram so that she could ensure an education for her children in that school. Ramaraju did not agree with Lakshmi’s decision. But Lakshmi told him that she was going to Polavaram on 6.8.2000 to execute her decision.
Against this background, Ramaraju, along with his friends, caught hold of and tortured Lakshmi, raped her and murdered her on 4.8.2000 at around 10:00 p.m. When Lakshmi’s mother did not find her in the hut, she went to the adjoining hut and saw two youngsters running away and Ramaraju coming out of the hut. As Lakshmi’s mother was aware of the affair between Lakshmi and Ramaraju, she asked him about the two youngsters who had ran away. Ramaraju told her it was unnecessary for her to inquire about that and threatened that she would meet the same fate as her daughter if she continued with her questions. Lakshmi’s mother became suspicious and went into the hut to find Lakshmi naked, gagged with cloth in her mouth, and her brain coming out of a big wound on the back of her head. She was dead.
Proper action was not taken as per the law in such circumstances where a rape and murder took place. The village Munsif complained of the murder only 24 hours after the incident. Police came after another half a day and scolded the parents of the victim and shifted the body for post mortem only after further delays. The post mortem was conducted on the third day of the murder due to the negligence of the doctors.
Patti Raju s/o Rangaiah, belonging to Mala (SC) from Teeparru village of Peravali mandal of West Godavari district was allegedly murdered by landlord Karutoori Subbarao, for whom he had been working for the past four years. Patti Raju had been working as a tenant servant to Karutoori Subbarao, from the Kamma caste, for the past four years. On 29.4.2000 Karutoori Subbarao went to Patti Raju’s house and asked his father, Rangaiah to come to his house immediately. Patti Rangaiah found Karutoori Narasimha Murthy at the house of Karutoori Subbarao. Karutoori Narasaimha Murthy angrily addressed Rangaiah and said, “you.. son of a bitch… if we do anything, the entire Mala neighbourhood will attack our houses. You don’t warn children to behave properly with us…” Raju, who runs a poultry farm, was also there at that time. Karutoori Subarao and poultry farmer Raju then asked Patti Rangaiah and Patti Raju to come to the poultry farm. The trio of Subba Rao, farmer Raju and Nalla Sathyanarayana, alias Boss, demanded that Patti Raju sign his name and Rangaiah to put his thumb impression on a piece of white paper. When Rangaiah asked them why he should sign, they told him that this will keep his son in fear and there is nothing to worry. Rangaiah put his thumb impression and Patti Raju put his signature on the piece of white paper. The dominant caste trio then asked Rangaiah to leave.
Nalla Sathyanarayana came to Rangaiah’s house around 6:00 p.m. that day and told him that Karutoori Subbarao had asked him to immediately bring Rangaiah to the agriculture fields owned by Subbarao. Rangaiah was then informed that his son had consumed pesticide but not to worry. Patti Raju was put into the taxi and taken to a doctor. When Rangaiah asked the PMPdoctor why a dead body is being put into a taxi, the doctor told him that Raju was still alive. When the taxi reached Tanuku, the driver stopped the taxi. When Rangaiah asked why Karutoori Subbarao, poultry farmer Raju and Nalla Sathyanarayana were not following them as they had said they would, the driver replied that he didn’t know anything about that. The driver shifted the dead body from the taxi onto the road after waiting for 1½ hours. Later, Nalla Sathyanarayana, poultry farmer Raju, Nalla Venkateswar Rao and Karutoori Gopalakrishna came to Tanuku at around 11:00 p.m. that night, saying that they would send another taxi from Tanuku to the hospital with Patti Raju. Nalla Sathyanarayana stayed back with Rangaiah, took him to a nearby liquor shop and provided him with brandy. Later, the body of Patti Raju was shifted to Teeparru by taxi. While Patti Raju’s relatives and family members were still crying, the landlords transported firewood to the cremation ground and pressurised the family members to shift the dead body to there. Rangaiah states that the ritual in their family is to bury whoever dies, but the landlords pressurised them and forced them to cremate the dead body immediately.
Rangaiah said that he was threatened not to complain to the police about his son’s death and was given Rs. 15,000/- by the landlords. Rangaiah did not complain to the police, fearing that all the Kammas would unite and if complaint was given and take revenge against his family. It was only after voluntary organisations and people’s organisations gave him courage, that Rangaiah met the Superintendent of Police at Eluru on 25.7.2000 and filed a complaint. Complaints were given to all the officials on 19.7.2000. Rangaiah states that after this, a landlord by name of Nalla Venkatrao physically assaulted his other son, Patti Sathyanarayana, saying, ‘.. your father took the Rs. 15,000/- so as to not file any case, but afterwards you filed a case…’ Rangaiah has requested officials to provide protection for his family. He stays outside the village for fear of an attack on him to force him to withdraw the case. The Police Sub-Inspector made an enquiry in the village and sent his report to the Superintendent of Police, W. Godavari.
Thalla Sathyanarayana, belonging to Mala (SC) community used to work as a tenant servant for Chikkam Sivaiah in Kamaraju peta village of Uppala guptham mandal. Chikkam Viswanatham, an adjacent land owner, gave a complaint to the police about the theft of his green-gram Dahl. The police took Thalla Sathyanarayana into custody on 17.6.2000. Thalla Sathyanarayana was found dead by 18.6.2000. Police said that Sathyanarayana consumed pesticide. Dalits say it was murder, and started a large scale agitation over this case.
Two police head constables were suspended. The Government gave Rs. 100,000/- financial support to the family members of the deceased. 2 acres of land near S.Yanam and a house site were sanctioned by the Government to the family members of the deceased.
Behlol Nagar is a village situated in Hanuman Garh District. It is about 40 kilometers from the main city of Hanuman Garh. Bhagwanti was living in village Behlolpur in District Hanuman Garh along with her father Mani Ram Meghwal, mother Sunder Devi, Brother Madan Lal & Subhash. About two years back from the date of FIR, Madan Lal elder brother of Bhagwanti met with an accident with electricity in the village and got injured. He was admitted in the Govt. Hospital Bikaner. While Mr. Mani Ram and his wife remained busy in the treatment of their son Madan at Bikaner Hospital, they sent Bhagwanti at her maternal uncle’s residence in Hanuman Garh Town. One day when Bhagwanti was on the way to bus stand near Chhabra Hospital Hanuman Garh just to convey some message to her parents through Bus Conductor, while returning back to railway crossing, she was approached by Rohtash & Krishan Godara. Both of them were not known to her earlier. They tried to entice Bhagwanti to accompany them but she refused. On her refusal, both of the guys threatened her to sit on their scooter in between and took her to their house. Both the guys were carrying country made pistol and knives. This incident took place around 4:30 PM. Bhagwanti was kept confined in a room for about two hours and both of the guys went somewhere and when they returned back, they forced Bhagwanti to consume liquor.
Thereafter Rohtash stayed outside the room and Krishna Godara raped her and went out. Then Rohtash went inside and he also raped her. He let her in pains and injuries & confined her in the room for the whole night. Bhagwanti was very much scared, cried a lot but no one was there to help her. The very next day Bhagwanti was handed over to Shakti Punia, Suresh Advocate, Subhash Godara, Vinod Renwa, Rajesh Bissha & others; they all raped Bhagwanti at various places. Later on she was transferred to Ganga Nagar where Harphool, Sehdar, Suresh, Vijay all residents of Sadhuwali village raped her continuously for three days. Subsequently she was confined in the Kothi of an Advocate at Sadhuwali Road for about two months where she was subjected to rape by many people including Suresh Sehdar, Harphool, Vijay, Sanjay, Susheel, Dinesh Sharma, Soni, etc. She tried to escape but while coming to Hanuman Garh Junction, Bhagwanti was forced to get down at Pucca Saharana by one lady namely Ms. Vimla who was said to be supplying girls to influential people in the area. Ms. Vimla took Bhagwanti to her mother’s house at Pucca Saharana and next morning brought back Bhagwanti to the Kothi of the same Advocate. One Subhash Sibbu an associate of Vimla also joined in the racket and started supplying the poor and helpless girl to influential rich youths & other persons in the area. This illegal & anti-social activity continued for about one and half year in Hanuman Garh, Ganga Nagar & Brick kiln where too Bhagwanti was gang raped continuously for one month and got pregnant.
One day she escaped from Brick-Kiln site and came to Hanuman Garh by bus and with the help of a renowned social worker of that area, Master Jasvinder Singh, succeeded in lodging FIR No- 493/2001 on 18-10-2001 at Police Station Hanuman Garh town under sections 363, 376, 342, 323, 366, 120B of the I.P.C & Sections 3 (1)(xii) & 3 (2)(v) of the SC/ST (PoA) Act 1989. Bhagwanti had indicated in front of the Video Camera the names of more than 70 persons in the FIR, statement recorded under section 161 in front of the Video Camera. On April 18, 2007, punishment was announced to 20 accused with five imprisonments out of 22 people.