Rape and suicide of minors: Kerala govt moves courtfor re-investigationUpdated: Nov 21, 2019 00:55 IST
Thiruvananthapuram: The CPI(M)-led Kerala government on Wednesday filed an appeal in the high court, seeking re-investigation and re-trial in the controversial rape and suicide of two minor girls in Palakkad two years ago.
The state witnessed heavy protest when a Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act (POCSO) court in Palakkad set free four accused in the death of minor siblings aged between 11 and 8, within a span of two months.
The issue also figured prominently in the Lok Sabha on Tuesday and speaker Om Biral said it was a serious matter and expressed hope that concerned agencies will deal with the case seriously. Congress MPs from the state had sought the Centre’s intervention, saying the state government was shielding the accused. The state government had sacked the special public prosecutor in the case two days ago, citing grave lapses on her part.
In the appeal, the government admitted serious lapses in investigation and trial, leading to the acquittal of the accused. During the probe into the death of the first child, sexual assault charges were not looked into seriously, and in the second case, though the post-mortem report cited a possible murder angle, it wasn’t probed further by the investigating team, it said. After many witnesses turned hostile during trial, the prosecution did not take any action against them, the government said in the appeal.
The ruling CPI(M) has been facing a barrage of criticism as all the accused were active workers of the party. The The Opposition Congress and the BJP alleged that the government weakened the case deliberately to save party workers. The mother of two siblings had also said that all accused were active party workers and she was also threatened on several occasions not to pursue the case.
The autopsy report had found that both girls were subjected to sexual assaults. The elder died on January 13, 2017, and the younger one 52 days later. Their mother had alleged that one of her relatives used to frequent the house when they go out for work and they had warned him when they came to know of the sexual assault.
But she said he and his friends continued to abuse the elder girl, which she had informed the police when she died. But there was no action against him, which led to the second death in the family 52 days later, she said. Though the younger sibling was found hanging at a height of 10 feet there was no stool or chair that she might have used to fasten the rope above, leading to the suspicion of an external hand, said activists and others.
Both Congress and BJP have welcomed the government’s belated decision. “It was overdue,” said opposition leader Ramesh Chennithala. “It is a drama being enacted by the government to cool mounting tempers,” said BJP leader K Surendran. The siblings mother had filed a plea in the High Court two days ago seeking Central Bureau of Investigation probe and it is expected to come up in a couple of days. The state had witnessed widespread protests after the acquittal of accused.