Dalit alleges bias after wife's rape and murdered in Asifabad
Deccan Chronicle| Pillalamarri Srinivas
Teku Laxmi was a hawker, selling utensils, balloons and hair items in the villages of Lingapur mandal.
Teku Laxmi's husband, Gopi (wearing a black cap and white shirt) with his two sons and mother at his residence in Gosampalle Yellapur in Khanapur mandal in Nirmal district on Sunday.
GOSAMPALLE YELLAPUR (NIRMAL): The family of Teku Laxmi, who was gang-raped and murdered in Asifabad district on November 24, accused the government of not treating her case as seriously as Dr Priyanka Reddy’s.
Laxmi’s husband Teku Gopi alleged that the state government did not respond to the case simply because they belon-ged to the Budagajangalu community of Dalits. His family regretted that civil society’s outrage did not extend to Laxmi’s case. Laxmi (30) was raped and murdered by three men in daylight, in some bushes near Yellapatar village in Lingapur mandal in Kumarambheem, Asifabad.
Teku Laxmi was a hawker, selling utensils, balloons and hair items in the villages of Lingapur mandal. She and Gopu had two sons, Siddhartha (13) and Nar-ender (11), who attend a government school. The family demanded the government set up a fast-track court, pay compensation, give them jobs , and ensure that the accused received the death penalty.
They say no political leader, be it their MLA, any minister, or leaders of other communities, responded to Laxmi’s murder. The only ones sympathetic were their own community and fellow Dalits, Adivasis and members of several backward castes.
‘This was nothing but social discrimination against Dalits passing through turmoil," said a visibly disturbed Gopi.
Laxmi’s family is from Gosampalle Yellapur village, which is 129 km from Adilabad and is in Khanapur mandal of Nirmal district. They live and earn their livelihood in Jainoor mandal headquarters in Kumarambheem.
Gosampalle Sarpanch Teku Gangaram said they expect justice in Laxmi’s case to be on par with that in the Priya-nka Reddy case. Laxmi’s aunt Teku Kanakamma, who never faced harassment by locals during her 20 years in Kumara-mbheem, was shocked by Laxmi’s murder and hoped for justice.
Those accused of Teku Laxmi’s gang-rape and murder are ganja addicts and had consumed liquor before they committed the crime.
The Kumaram Bheem Asifabad police arrested Sheik Babu, 35, Sheik Shaboddin, 30, and Sheik Muqdum, 40, of Yellapatar and police told the media that they had confessed to the crime.
The three are said to be teak wood smugglers and petty thieves and the local gram sabha has imposed fines on them many times for crimes they have committed. The villagers of Yellapatar say that they were given enough warnings and chances to mend their ways and change their attitude but in vain.
In addition to the rape and murder of Laxmi, the three men have also been charged with attempted rape of local tribal women in the past. It’s a mystery how they have been allowed to roam freely to commit yet more crimes instead of being locked up.
It may be recalled here that the Adivasi Mahila Sangham supported by their men have been agitating to stop the sale of liquor in their villages in the Agency area.