A mother in Meghalaya did not let her son get away with alleged rape and murder of a neighbour after he confessed his role in the crime.
In the process, she saved the victim’s uncle who was arrested by the police on suspicion of having sexually assaulted and stabbed the 17-year-old girl.
Upper Shillong resident Dlet Syiemlieh grew suspicious when her son Vicky, 22, seemed edgy after he came home on Thursday, less than an hour after the girl went missing around 7.30pm.
Members of the girl’s family located her in a jungle near the locality around midnight. She was taken to a civil hospital, where she was declared brought dead. Local police later arrested Pyrshan Kharrymba, the girl’s uncle, who was the first to have spotted the body.
Soon after the news of her death, Vicky broke down and told his mother that he was involved in the crime. On Friday morning, the mother went to the Lumdiengjri police station seeking her son’s arrest.
“The police arrested Vicky within 24 hours of the rape and murder. His five-day police remand is till Tuesday,” Shillong City superintendent of police Vivek Syiem said.
He also said Dlet’s statement helped release the victim’s uncle.
“He deserves punishment for the ghastly crime. But the police should also catch three others who my son said were involved too,” the mother said.
Activists have appreciated Dlet’s uprightness, particularly as her community, Khasi, is matrilineal and mothers are socially powerful enough to shield their children.
“She handed her son over to the police, but the audacity of the latter in claiming credit for getting to one of the suspects so fast is disgusting,” Agnes Karshiing of Civic Society Women’s Organisation, an NGO, said.
“The woman is poor and cannot afford to bail her son out. Cases of crime against women in Meghalaya usually take a long time to be solved because many buy their way out or feel the law cannot touch them,” Kharshiing said.
Meghalaya police records say the number of crimes against women increased from 66 in a decade to 269 in 2011. It dipped to 255 in 2012 but has been increasing at an average of 34% since.
Rape accounted for 118 of the 480 cases registered in 2014. The most number of rape cases – 183 – were recorded in 2013. More than 65% of the victims were minors and a majority of the rapists were found to have been under the influence of alcohol.