Re-open Ayesha Meera's Case
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'Ayesha' the name means 'life' and of course, she was her parents' life. A bright student, a great Bharatanatyam dancer, believed in fairy tales and played with Barbie dolls!
Ayesha Meera was like every other girl, full of dreams and ambitions. Probably we would have known more about her but none of us ever met her, we never can meet her...ever.
Some news reports say she was 17 years old, some quote her as 19....all we know was that she was too young to die. It wasn't a natural death - she was raped and murdered. Rape is heinous, murder is inhuman - but injustice is more horrendous of all crimes.
Ayesha is being killed EVERY SINGLE DAY for over a decade due to the apathy of the our authorities and their alleged favoritism towards a political family.
The 19-year-old first-year BPharm student of Nimrah College, Vijayawada was found murdered in her hostel in Ibrahim-patnam on December 27, 2007. Her naked body was recovered from the bathroom. The immediate suspect in the case was Koneru Satish, the local panchayat sarpanch and the grandson of the then minister Koneru Ranga Rao, relative of Ayesha's hostel warden Koneru Padma. Another suspect was Congress leader C. Madhava Rao, the president of the local mandal parishad. There were allegations that Satish and Madhava Rao used to visit the hostel at night and were having parties in the warden's room as they were close to the management. While she was murdered on the intervening night of 26-27th December, 2007, her badly mutilated dead body was 'discovered' by the hostel warden on 27th December morning 6 am. Police reached the spot only at 8 am, giving ample time for everyone involved to tamper with onsite evidence.
While Ayesha's parents were teachers from Tenali and from a middle class background with no political background, the ‘suspects’ were from from a powerful political family.
The authorities tried to silenced all the voices raised alleging the involvement of Koneru Satish and to divert attention by resorting to character assassination of Ayesha. They claimed that it was the fallout of a “love affair” between Ayesha and her uncle. In addition, the police even tried to book her relatives at Tenali. When faced with protests, the police took into custody one Mr. Sivanjaneyulu, tortured him, took him to Hyderabad, interrogated him, ran tests and declared him the culprit.
Mr. Sivanjaneyulu’s family approached the State Human Rights Commission and then the police let him off based on their direction. After this, the police arrested Upender Singh of Jagtial, and alleged that he was facing a rape and theft case. Almost 15 days after his interrogation, conducting blood tests and examining his handwriting, the police presented him as Ayesha’s murderer. He was also let off after his mother Lakshmibai and complained to the SHRC. The police took into custody Gurvinder Singh Anand alias Laddu, via a prisoner transit warrant. He was subjected to several tests. Cops claimed his footprints matched those at the scene and was placed in judicial custody. His family approached the SHRC, alleging that he was implicated. After dragging the case for nine months, on 17th August 2008, police finally arrested Satyam Babu, a physically disabled petty cellphone thief, saying the handwriting and footprints matched with those found at the crime scene.
Police had claimed that Satyam Babu’s motive was that Ayesha had “rejected” his offer of love. They also claimed that is why he had written a letter after killing her, and left it at the scene. The police also claimed that they found at the scene of offence a love letter written by Satyam Babu, blood stains on Ayesha’s dress and a handwritten word ‘Chirutha’ (Telugu for ‘Leopard’) using a marker on Ayesha's chest.
Though the families of the others moved the SHRC, Satyam Babu’s family could not avail legal remedies at the initial stage due to their weak financial position and threats from the police.
In the midst of the investigation, Vijayawada police commissioner CV Anand sought a transfer out of the city, with speculation rife that the unsolved Ayesha case had something to do with his moving out. But despite the political pressure, a polygraph test was done on Satyam Babu. Not that the test reports are admissible as evidence but they only reinforced the doubt. The reports revealed that Satyam's response to two questions, including whether he knew the hostel owner, was not accurate. The evidence found at the crime scene - hair, semen and handprints - nothing matched with Satyam Babu's.
With the case not disappearing from the headlines, Satyam Babu who was first arrested in a petty cell phone theft case, was reported to have confessed to the murder. Subsequently, when he was taken for medical examination, the police claimed he escaped from the custody of ten policemen. Dalit organizations protested suspecting it was a time-tested ploy to bump off Satyam Babu in a fake encounter once and for all. It was after all this, that he was shown as arrested once again.
The police explanation clearly suggested that a crippled man escaping police custody, was full of holes. Was it a case of the police trying to impress their political superiors or someone else writing the script?
On 29th September 2010, without any concrete evidence - Satyam Babu was convicted by the trial court. He then appealed to the High Court on 28th October 2010 and finally after eight long years of languishing in the jail and a prolonged legal battle - Satyam Babu was acquitted on 31st March 2017!
The High Court set him free for lack of evidence, a sheer show of competency by the investigating authorities.
Parents of Ayesha - Sayed Iqbal Basha and Shamshad Begum hailed the judgement. From day one of this arrest, they were vocal about the fact that Satyam Babu was falsely implicated in their daughter's murder case while the REAL culprit is being let away. After the acquittal, parents of Ayesha demanded that the cops pay Rs 1 crore to Satyam Babu for ruining eight years of his life in a false case.
Now comes the real question, if Satyam Babu who was strongly projected as the killer of Ayesha by Vijayawada police, was acquitted...who actually killed Ayesha?
The then opposition leader Mr. Chandra Babu Naidu promised to take up the investigation when he gets re-elected to power. Ironically, one of the ‘initial & key’ suspects Koneru Satish was neither investigated nor questioned.
We demand that the case gets re-investigated.
We demand solace to the parents of Ayesha Meera.
We demand the justice Ayesha deserves. It was Ayesha a decade ago, it can be anyone of us tomorrow!!!
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