Outrage in Kerala as accused in rape and suicide of 2 minors walk free
A local court in Palakkad on Saturday acquitted the four accused in the case citing that prosecution was not able to prove the involvement of the accused in the case.Updated: Oct 27, 2019, 20:00 IST
A big outcry over the acquittal of accused in the rape and ‘suicide’ of two minor girls in Palakkad two years ago forced the Kerala police to file an appeal against the verdict.
A local court in Palakkad on Saturday acquitted the four accused in the case citing that prosecution was not able to prove the involvement of the accused in the case. The court also pulled up the investigating team observing that it did not present scientific evidence in the case.
The victims’ mother later blamed the police saying “they investigated the case in a haphazard manner as some of the accused were active members of the ruling CPI(M).” She said though she told them about the involvement of two youth her statement was not recorded properly.
The autopsy and scientific examinations had found both girls were subjected to sexual assaults. The elder girl died on January 13, 2017, and the younger one 52 days later. Their mother alleged a cousin of her husband used to come to her house when they go out for work and they had warned him when they knew of sexual assault.
But she said he 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. She also said she was not even aware of the verdict day as nobody informed her.
The case had shocked the state when the siblings aged between 11 and 8 had “committed suicide” in two months gap after alleged rape by a relative and his friends. The incident hit the national headlines after many equated it with the brutal rape and murder of 8-year-old in Kathua in Jammu and Kashmir in 2017.
Following the acquittal of the accused there was a big outcry and members of the ruling front came out against the police as well.
“People have lost faith in the state police. We want an independent agency to probe the incident,” said CPI leader Annie Raja in Delhi. Later, Thrissur range DIG S Surendran said the police will file an appeal against the verdict.
But opposition leaders and legal experts said there was no point in engaging the same agency for re-investigation. “We want a court monitored probe,” said Opposition leader Ramesh Chennithala.
The Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act Court had acquitted four accused and will decide the fate of the fifth defendant, a minor, next month.
An NGO, Child Protect Team Kerala, campaigning for the rights of children said it will move the High Court seeking the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to take over the case. “What is more shocking is that the government has now appointed the lawyer who appeared for an accused as the chairman of the District Child Welfare Committee in Palakkad,” said its president C K Nasser.
Many legal experts said the police failed to submit proper scientific and material evidence in the court giving the suspects the benefit of the doubt. Though the elder sibling was found hanging there was no stool or chair that she might have used to fasten the rope above, leading to the suspicion of an external hand. The mother said the second daughter was also died under similar circumstances.