Students of Saint Joseph Degree college participate in an anti-rape protest in Hyderabad on September 13, 2013. The judge hearing the case of four men convicted for a shocking gang rape on a bus in New Delhi in December 2012 sentenced them to death. Image Credit: AFP

Hyderabad: The alleged kidnap and rape of a girl by a canteen owner for 17 months has sent waves of shock and dismay across Hyderabad and protests against the incident have now spread from the streets to social media.

The incident came to light when the 20-year-old girl managed to escape from the clutches of her tormentor and returned home to her parents.

Officers at Santoshnagar police station in Hyderabad have arrested Satyaprakash Singh, owner of a canteen at TRR College.

“We have booked a case under the Nirbhaya act and an impartial and prompt investigation has been taken up”, said Tarun Joshi, deputy commissioner of South Zone. He said that the statement of the girl would be recorded before a magistrate.

With the victim and the alleged perpetrator of the crime belonging to different communities, the issue has become even more sensitive and police said they were not allowing any more public demonstrations.

A group of youths who demonstrated outside Santoshnagar Police station were taken into custody. Hyderabad city police commissioner Anurag Sharma confirmed that the case would be dealt with under the more strict Nirbhaya Act. This act, an amendment to the Criminal Procedure Code, was passed by the Indian Parliament after the New Delhi gang rape in December last year. A Delhi Court has since sentenced to death the four accused of the case under this act.

Andhra Pradesh State Human Rights Commission has issued notices to the director-general of police (DGP) Dinesh Reddy and the revenue officials to take necessary action.

The commission, on a representation by the acting president of Majlis Bachao Tehreek (MBT), Amjadullah Khan Khalid, asked the DGP to submit his report by October 7 and directed the collector of Hyderabad to provide financial aid to the girl.

The girl went missing from her polytechnic college on April 3, 2012 and all efforts by her family to trace her had failed. She has now revealed that, on the day she disappeared, Satyaprakash Singh mixed some thing in her food and after she fell unconscious he took her to a flat at an unknown place where she was confined, chained with a belt, tortured and raped repeatedly.

The girl said in her police report that, although she used to scream and cry for help, nobody came to help her. Satyaprakash would beat her up brutally and rape her, she alleged. After one month, apparently under the pressure of the house owner, he moved her to another place in the dead of the night promising that he would release her near her house.

“After driving for an hour he again took me forcibly to another flat at Meerpet, Bala Nagar, Gayatri Nagar and, in spite of my protests and shouting, locked me with help of an woman who I can identify,” she said in the complaint.

At the new place, he continued to rape the hapless girl. “He used to abuse me saying that he will rape all Muslim girls like this. He used to say that I am the fifth Muslim girl who he has raped and killed and thrown in a river. He claimed that his father is and former Defence employee and his brother is a criminal lawyer who always saves him from getting into the police net”, she said.

In May 2012 the girl managed to contact her mother by phone and informed her about her condition. Despite her brother approaching the police about the call, nothing was done.

Satyaprakash Singh, who had stopped visiting her for five days, returned only to beat up and rape her as he realised that she had used his phone to call her mother. He said that the police had taken him in to custody but he was released under pressure form former Hyderabad Mayor and TDP leader Teegala Krishna Reddy, owner of the college.

The girl finally managed to escape from captivity on September 4 after a drunk Satyaprakash Singh had fallen asleep leaving the door open.

The girl also said that during captivity she had become pregnant and was forced to have an abortion at a clinic. Even while there the staff and doctor failed to help her, she said.

At one stage, while she was held captive at a third place, three policemen allegedly came after a complaint from the neighbours. But they too raped her at the behest of Satyaprakash Singh, the girl said.

The alleged events have left citizens in deep shock and demands for stringent punishment to the perpetrator were growing louder.

The protests have gone viral with several social media pages being set up in support of the girl and more than 15000 people have joined the campaign demanding justice for the girl.