Vakapalli victims' plea ignored: Human Rights Forum

The Supreme Court has ruled that the victims have the right to select their advocates.

Visakhapatnam: The Human Rights Forum (HRF) and members of women’s rights organisations demanded that the government appoint a public prosecutor and an assistant public prosecutor of the choice of the Vakapalli gang rape victims to represent their case in the special court. Speaking to mediapersons here, HRF general secretary V.S. Krishna and Ms K. Padma of the Mahila Chetana Organisation said that the victims in the Vakapalli gang rape had submitted a memorandum on October 30 to district collector Pravin Kumar demanding that they be allowed to select the public prosecutor and assistant public prosecutor. Nothing had been done so far, they said.

The victims in their petition had demanded the appointment of Rajahmundry-based advocate Palla Trinadha Rao as special public prosecutor and city advocate Jaha Ara as assistant public prosecutor. They said that the SC, ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act empowers the government to appoint a special public prosecutor as desired by the victims to prosecute the case. The Supreme Court has ruled that the victims have the right to select their advocates. The government was ignoring this, Mr Krishna and Ms Padma said.

On August 20, 2007, 11 tribal women of Vakapalli under Nurmati panchayat of G. Madugula mandal in Vizag Agency were allegedly gang-raped by 21 personnel of Greyhounds, the anti-naxal force of AP. The victims have been fighting for justice since then. After hearing their petition, the Supreme Court on September 1 had ordered the fast-tracking of the case. The case was to be heard by the the special court. The third hearing was scheduled for Tuesday after two adjournments but the government was yet to respond the plea of the victims, Mr Krishna said.

( Source : Deccan Chronicle. )
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