On September 15 (Thursday) afternoon, the former CBI director M Nageswar Rao, put out a letter on Twitter addressed to Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Jagan Mohan Reddy, raising serious questions about Andhra Pradesh police’s conduct while handling a rape case by an “influential” Church pastor in Tirupati.
Sir @ysjagan a poor girl was allegedly raped by a Pastor in Tirupati on 3rd Oct.— M. Nageswara Rao IPS (@MNageswarRaoIPS) October 15, 2020
Police are reportedly under pressure to hush it up.
Case was registered after 9 days on 12th Oct.
Accused Pastor not yet arrested.
Pl intervene for justice to victim girl.@tv5newsnow@eenadulivenews pic.twitter.com/GeIy5AnipU
In his letter dated October 15, the IPS officer informed that a young girl in Tirupati was brutally raped and assaulted by a Church Pastor-Mallem Deva Sahayam on October 3rd and it almost took the Andhra Pradesh police 9 days to file a complaint against the Missionary as he was a man of “means and influence”. Drawing the CM’s attention towards the case, Rao alleged that the arrest was delayed due to “political pressure” and religious bias, as the accused in the case is an influential Christian Missionary. Moreover, he said that the inordinate delay in registering the case itself proves that the police is trying to go soft on the accused, who he said is involved in the business of conversions.
Reminding the CM about the recent instructions by GOI in a letter dated October 9, instructing all state govt about some mandatory actions to be taken by the police in case of crime against women, the ex-CBI director urged Jagan Mohan Reddy to direct fair, impartial and expeditious investigation including the immediate arrest of the accused in the case.
According to reports, the incident had come to the fore after the human rights Chittoor District wing met the 20-year-old victim while undergoing treatment at the Tirupati maternity hospital after being allegedly raped and assaulted. The victim was working as sales-girl in the private company- Rainbow Cleaning Products, located in Renigunta, Andhra Pradesh, which belongs to the Christian pastor- Mallem Deva Sahayam, the alleged accused in the case.
In what had transpired on October 3 at around 7 pm the accused had allegedly picked up the victim from Tirupati renigunta road and reached Thukivakam village Rayal Sykam layout, where he assaulted and raped her.
After the incident when the victim went to the police station to lodge a complaint against the Pastor, but the Police allegedly refused to file a case.
Later the victim approached ASP Supraja. After the ASP’s intervention, the case was registered against Deva Sahayam under IPC sections 376 and 506 on October 12, 9 days after the gruesome crime.
Meanwhile, Tirupati Urban Superintendent of Police Avula Ramesh Reddy denied the allegations that there was religious bias in apprehending criminals. According to the SP the woman had reported the incident to the police on the morning of October 12 during the Spandana programme (a weekly grievance redressal programme), and that a complaint was immediately registered. He also that the accused had threatened to harm the victim if she approached the police. Scared of the threats the victim remained confined to her house for a few days before deciding to register a complaint, said the SP.
Interestingly, the Tirupati police had yesterday put out a Tweet in its defence. It said that “the complaint came to police on 12th and police acted with alacrity n arrested the accused.Police will do its duty & responsibilities without any urging from any quarters least of all your distorted comments”. The Tirupati police had also said that the accused was neither a pastor nor a missionary as alleged.
However, there are many pictures on various social media platforms which punctures the claims made by the Tirupati police. Responding to the Police’s claims, many Twitter users shared pictures of events where the evangelist was seen conducting prayers and programs.
Some local activists claim that Tirupati SP Avula Ramesh Reddy has political ambitions and is aiming to fight the next assembly elections. They claim that “vote bank politics” could be impacting his conduct. However, others blame it purely on inefficiency of the system. OpIndia’s attempt to get a reaction from the police officer over such criticism was not successful.
Mallem Deva Shayam is the Founder & President of Bible Research Ministries, and there are several videos showing him preaching on its YouTube channel. This shows that Deva Shayam is indeed a Christian pastor, but for some reason Tirupati police is denying it.