Mob 'stoned HIV victim and burnt her alive'
INDIAN authorities are investigating claims that an HIV-positive woman was stoned and then cremated - possibly while she was alive - by a mob which included members of her family.
Munnuswamy Pavanamma, a 32-year-old widow, was attacked as she lay in the shade of a tree in the south Indian state of Andhra Pradesh.
Women’s groups claimed the killing in the village of Kuppam earlier this month was covered up by local police, who initially treated the case as murder and then said she had died of natural causes.
SV Sreeram, a senior executive of a group called the Women’s Initiative (Wins), which works with HIV/Aids sufferers, said: "Some neighbours, including her relatives, tried to take Pavanamma out of their village by carrying away the bench on which she was lying in front of her mud-house.
"When she tried to run away, the people pelted her with stones. She was hit on the head, started bleeding from her injury and collapsed."
According to Wins, villagers wanted Pavanamma to be thrown out of the town when they heard she was an "Aids patient".
In the face of growing pressure from villagers to ostracise the woman, her family also turned against her. Her mother and brother broke off contact and moved her to a house at the edge of their village.
Dr Pinakapani Manorama, president of the local Community Health Education Society, said that the neighbours burned the bench on which Pavanamma had lain and cut down the mango tree beneath which she had been resting, before burning the upper-caste Hindu woman in a lower-caste cremation ground.
Going against Hindu practice, her family refused to pick up her ashes from the cremation ground, fearing they would contract HIV.
Kesava Raju, a police superintendent in charge of Kuppam, admitted negligence on the part of the police. "We should have investigated enough to ascertain whether she was dead before being carried to the cremation ground," he said.
Naveen Chand, police chief of Chittoor district, which includes Kuppam, confirmed: "The government has ordered a fresh probe into the case and we are getting ready for re-investigation.
"If the stoning charge is found to be true, all those found guilty will be severely punished."
Search for a job
Search for a car
Search for a house
Weather for Edinburgh
Tuesday 21 May 2013
Temperature: 6 C to 17 C
Wind Speed: 12 mph
Wind direction: North east
Temperature: 3 C to 13 C
Wind Speed: 23 mph
Wind direction: North west