Alleging “severe lapses” in the police investigation into the brutal rape and murder of a woman in Kerala, an independent fact-finding team of intellectuals and academicians have called for a CBI probe into the gruesome incident.
“There have been severe and fatal lapses in the investigation by the police. The police tried to mislead the people initially by terming it as a suicide case. The Circle Inspector, who first probed the case, described it as a suspicious case of death,” said Monika Arora, convenor of the Group of Intellectuals and Academicians (GIA), also a Supreme Court advocate.
“Initially the case was registered under the charges of trespass and murder. Charges of rape and sexual assault were added only after local media broke the story,” she added.
She also alleged that the crime scene was not sealed for nearly 10 days from April 28, the date of the incident, till May 8.
“From 9.30 pm on April 28 to 12.30 pm the next day, people were entering the room where the crime happened and clicked pictures, shared it on WhatsApp and police remained a mute spectator. Material evidence in the form of finger prints, shoe prints and others had been destroyed because of the non-sealing of the crime scene,” Arora said.
The GIA also demanded that police officials who allegedly tried to “mislead and misguide” the people and tried to cover up the incident should be identified and dealt with in accordance with law.
“Mother and sister of the victim repeatedly stated that they were being threatened by some local people, even hit by a motorcyclist and were asked a number of times to leave the village.
Also, according to the report, mother of the deceased had repeatedly requested the local gram panchayat leader for building a toilet but the legimate demand was not met.
“The FFT believes that the brutal rape and murder of the victim took place because of her gender, she being a woman, not being a Dalit, but certainly accentuated by her social and economic status,” the report said.
GIA would be submitting its report to the Home Ministry, to the National Commisison for Women (NCW), to the SC/ST Commission and the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC).