Excise Cops Responsible For Custodial Death Must Be Prosecuted

The Human Rights Forum (HRF) demands that the Excise and Prohibition personnel of V Madugula station in the district be criminally prosecuted for causing the custodial death of Gemmela Appa Rao on Tuesday (June 20, 2006).

Following reports in the Press about Appa Rao’s death, the HRF constituted a two-member committee to ascertain facts of the case. The fact-finding team consisted of HRF State Committee secretary V S Krishna and District Committee member M Suryanarayana. On Wednesday, the team visited Konam, Madugula and Chodavaram and spoke to a cross-section of people including family members of the deceased, his relatives and neighbours and Excise and Prohibition as well as Law and Order police personnel. The following is a brief account of our findings:

Gemmela Appa Rao (aged about 45), an Adivasi of the bagata tribe was picked up on Monday night near the Konam reservoir at around 8.15 pm by a ‘raid party’ consisting of private persons on the payroll of a liquor businessman of the area. Appa Rao was whisked away in a jeep and handed over to the Madugula Excise police. He was apparently picked up as he was distributing ID (illicitly distilled) liquor at Konam.

Appa Rao’s relatives and friends went around and met several bigwigs in the area the same night enquiring about his whereabouts and well-being and seeking his release. They were told that he was at the Madugula excise station and they could go there and meet him the next morning. However, his body was found on Tuesday morning in bushes a little distance away from the Madugula excise station.

The excise police state that Appa Rao was given dinner on Monday and that he committed suicide by hanging himself with his lungi in the lock-up cell during the night. The excise police add that the SI on duty BV Ramana and the constable Mohd Yunas took the body upon discovering it the next morning in the cell and dumped it away from the station in a fit of panic.

The version of the excise police is pure fabrication. It is our view, based on the facts we were able to gather, including an examination of the lock-up cell at the Madugula excise station that Gemmela Appa Rao was subjected to severe beating in the police lock-up on Monday night leading to his death. The excise police are trying to cover up this crime of custodial killing by putting out the usual story of a suicide in lock-up. His body bore marks of injury in the groin region as well as the upper portion.

The Madugula SI and constable have been placed under suspension for ‘dereliction of duty’. This is intended to give the impression that action has been taken against them. We wish to point out that this is unacceptable and is only an attempt to whitewash the serious crime committed by the excise police.

We demand that:

  • The Madugula excise SI and constable be immediately arrested and criminal prosecution be initiated against them under appropriate sections of the IPC including 302 relating to murder and 201 relating to screening of evidence
  •  Adequate compensation not below Rs 2 lakh be given to the wife of the deceased (Appa Rao’s wife Mutyalamma is chronically unwell and cannot do physical labour. Their only son Siva, aged 14, is a mentally challenged boy). For awarding this compensation, the government must make the necessary rules under the SC, ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act. 

V S Krishna
HRF State secretary


Related Posts

Scroll to Top