Rishiteswari then, Shilpa now

Andhra Pradesh had been witnessing series of atrocities against women, students and minor girls. There was a case of Rishiteswari from Acharya Nagarjuna University, a student of architecture, who was subjected to ragging and subsequently forced to commit suicide in July 2015. The trend continues with PG Medical student Dr Shilpa committing suicide this week at Sri Venkateswara Medical College in the temple town of Tirupati.

The girl had narrated how she was subjected to the harassment and how some of her seniors have proposed to her and tried for sexual advances with her. The government had just removed vice-chancellor K R S Sambasiva Rao and had washed off its hands.

There was again a PG medico, Sandhya Rani, who committed suicide in October 2016 in the Guntur Medical Collage. The government acted on the suicide note and arrested a professor, V A A Lakshmi for abetting the suicide, which was also due to harassment. No one knows where the case is now.

There were cases of sexual harassment against the professors at Kakinada and Visakhapatnam too and the students held protests.

The list goes longer to name the victims of sexual assault in the State in the last four years. The minor’s rape in Dachepalli in Guntur district created resentment from the cross section of the people. However, nothing had happened after the suicidal death of the accused.

The cases of sexual advances by the money lenders in Vijayawada were diluted to protect the influential abusers. The physical assault on a woman Tahsildar at Musunur in Krishna district was silenced by the powers.

Now, it is the case of Dr Shilpa, who committed suicide in Tirupati SV Medical College. The government had transferred some accused and suspended some. Still there is no guarantee that such incidents will not happen as there is cover in the power to protect them. There are hands in the government to cover up the crime and except in the case of the minor rape in Dachepalli, where the accused, a rickshaw puller, committed suicide, not a single accused in a single case is punished so far. This being the situation, the cases of Rishiteswari’s will keep surfacing, giving no hope of security for women.

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