Kerala oppn disrupts house over accused’s acquittal in rape, death of 2 minors
The Congress-led opposition in Kerala disrupted proceedings in the state assembly on Monday to protest the acquittal of four accused in the rape and death of two minor Dalit sisters in Palakkad two years ago and seek a probe by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).
Candlelight rallies and protest meetings were held in many parts of the state demanding justice for the sisters aged between 8 and 11. The girls were found dead within 52 days of each other after they were allegedly raped by a relative and his friends.
Some angry activists hacked the website of the state’s law department, saying “there was no need for such a website”. Social media was flooded with demand for justice after they coined a slogan “Justice For Our Sisters”.
A local court in Palakkad had acquitted the four accused in the case on Saturday, saying that the prosecution was not able to prove their involvement in the case. The court also pulled up the investigating team, saying it did not present scientific evidence in the case.
The Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act court will decide the fate of the fifth accused, a minor, in November.
Congress lawmaker Shafi Parambhil, who represents Palakkad in the assembly, moved an adjournment motion as soon as the proceedings began. He sought an independent probe by a central agency into the deaths.
Chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan, however, said the government was ready for a re-investigation but was non-committal over the CBI probe.
The Speaker adjourned the House after opposition members stormed into the well of the house.
“It seems the government is in a hurry to shield some people,” Shafi Parambhil said.
Pinarayi Vijayan said the government was also upset with the acquittal of the accused and it will examine lapses if any. The embarrassed government later shifted the childline official who represented one of the accused in the court.
The Bharatiya Janata Party leader K Surendran alleged that state law minister AK Balan “tried to save the accused who were close to him.”
As opposition leaders and even members of the ruling front came out against the police, Thrissur range deputy inspector general of police S Surendran said they will file an appeal against the verdict.
The victims’ mother has also blamed the police and said: “they were hand in glove with the accused who were active members of the ruling CPI(M).”
She said though she told them about the involvement of the two men, her statement was not recorded properly. The girls’ parents reiterated that their statements were fudged to help the accused.
The mother has alleged one of her husband’s cousins used to come to their house when they went out for work and they had warned him when they came to know of the sexual assault.
But she said he continued to abuse her elder daughter and that she had informed the police about it when she died. But there was no action against him, which led to the death of her second daughter.
The mother alleged her younger daughter was killed by the accused as they feared she may spill the beans.
The autopsy report had found that both the girls were subjected to sexual assaults. The elder girl died on January 13, 2017, and the younger 52 days later.