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Latvian woman’s sister says she was murdered, seeks probe

Liga Skormane’s decomposed body was found on Kovalam beach in Kerala two days ago.

india Updated: Apr 23, 2018 18:42 IST
Hindustan Times, Thiruvananthapuram
Liga Skormane,decomposed body,Kerala
Liga came to an Ayurveda hospital on the outskirts of Thiruvananthapuram and disappeared from the hospital.(Photo for representation)

A Latvian woman said on Monday her sister, whose highly decomposed body was found two days ago near Kovalam beach in Kerala, was murdered and urged the state government for a high-level probe into her death.

Ilzie Skormane said while addressing reporters in Thiruvananthapuram that it was clear from the autopsy report of her sister Liga that she died of unnatural circumstances.

“My sister can’t reach such a remote area. It seems someone took her there. We urge people staying near the spot to come forward and share any information on this,” she said.

Ilzie said she tried to meet chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan but was not allowed an audience and accused the police of not helping them find her sister initially.

“They took it seriously at least a week after we filed the missing person’s report. We were literally pleading with the authorities but to no avail,” she said.

Liga’s husband Andrew, however, thanked the people of Kerala for their support.

“Look, such cases can happen anywhere in the world. We are not here to blame anyone. We really admire the people who started a vigorous campaign to help locate her,” he said.

He added that both of them will be in the state for some time to follow the progress in the case.

Police have said the initial autopsy reports suggest there were no weapon-inflicted injuries on Liga’s body and that a clear picture will emerge only after a forensic examination.

Liga came to an Ayurveda hospital on the outskirts of the state capital for treatment along with Andrew and Ilzie on February 3. The 33-year-old disappeared from the hospital on March 14 while undergoing treatment for depression and other related ailments.

An auto-rickshaw driver told the police during investigation that he dropped her on the Kovalam beach, 16 km south of Thiruvananthapuram, and one of the most popular tourist destinations in the country, on the day she disappeared.

Liga’s relatives announced a reward of Rs 1 lakh for information that would help find her and put up posters with her pictures across Kovalam and adjoining areas, appealing for help. People on social media platforms also started a campaign to help trace Liga.

Liga’s decomposed body was found last Saturday and was identified by Ilzie by the dress she was wearing.

The state’s director general of police Loknath Behra said the probe into Liga’s death has posed a big challenge to the force.

Behra added he has directed the inspector general of police (Thiruvananthapuram range), Manoj Abraham, to supervise the investigation into her death and record statements of her relatives.

The state government has also announced it will bear all the expenses of taking her body to her country.

Liga’s case is the latest to highlight the safety of tourists in India. According to the latest data by National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB), crimes against foreigners spiked in 2016 as 12 of them were murdered, 38 molested and 19 allegedly raped.

Last year, a stone-throwing attack left a young Swiss couple with a skull fracture and a broken arm in Agra, home to the famed monument to love, the Taj Mahal.

A Dutch tourist was allegedly attacked in March last year on Kovalam beach by a man from Kattakkada. Nine tourists were attacked in Kerala in 2015, and there were seven such incidents in 2014.

First Published: Apr 23, 2018 18:42 IST