The civil society members across the country, especially in Kerala, are expressing massive outrage against the Kerala government following the acquittal of all four persons in the rape and death case of two minor Dalit girls in Walayar in Palakkad district.
Two years after two minor sisters in Walayar in Palakkad district were found dead in mysterious circumstances, a court in Palakkad on Friday acquitted three persons who were accused of abetment of suicide and rape of the two minor Dalit girls.
Following the acquittal of the accused, the Kerala government is facing severe criticism over the handling of the investigation. It is now being alleged that the ruling CPI(M) had attempted to stall the investigation, which has led to the acquittal of the accused.
It is being accused that the Kerala police under political pressure, allegedly helped the accused evade the conviction by weakening the case. Ironically, the accused in the case are CPI(M) workers and the defence lawyer was a local CPI(M) leader.
On Monday, the mother of the victims alleged that a “Left” party had attempted to scuttle the probe. She claimed, “Workers of the party with the sickle symbol released a suspect from the police station at night”. The parents of the victims had witnessed their elder child being sexually abused by one of the accused. The victims’ mother said she had no trust in the police, who had not acted despite collecting evidence.
Candlelight vigil organised by Kairali Sauhruda Vedi in protest against Kerala Govt’s callousness in the rape & murder of minor Hindu Dalit sisters in Kerala, in which the police, with connivance of CPM leaders destroyed evidence to save Communist rapists #Justice4WalayarSisters pic.twitter.com/KG0FqPXHnK
— J Nandakumar (@kumarnandaj) October 28, 2019
Not just in Kerala, protests erupted against the Kerala’s Communist government led by Pinarayi Vijayan against the acquittal of all accused in rape and murder case of minor Dalit sisters elsewhere in the country also. Students of Delhi University and JNU organised a protest march and candlelight vigil, under the aegis of Kairali Souhruda Vedi, in front of Kerala House, near Jantar Mantar in New Delhi.
The two minor Dalit girls, who were sisters, were found hanging after being sexually assaulted in January and March 2017 in Attappalam in Walayar, near Kerala’s border with Tamil Nadu.
The elder sister, who was 13 years old, was found hanging in her house on January 13, 2017. Within two months, her 9-year-old younger sister was also found hanging in her house on March 4, 2017. The minor girls belonged to the Scheduled Caste community. According to the postmortem reports, the girls were subjected to sexual assault. The autopsy report in the case of the younger girl even suggested the possibility of homicidal hanging.
However, the police did not investigate the murder charges and the final report was submitted against four accused – V Madhu, M Madhu, Shibu and Pradeep Kumar for offences of abetment of suicide, rape and unnatural sex under the Indian Penal Code and penetrative sexual assault under the POCSO Act.
Another accused is a juvenile and proceedings against him are progressing in the Juvenile Justice Board.
The Special POCSO Court, Palakkad had acquitted one of the accused Pradeep Kumar on September 30. On Friday, the First Additional Sessions Judge (Special POCSO Court) of Palakkad district acquitted three accused in the case – V Madhu, Shibu and M Madhu – citing that the prosecution was not able to prove their involvement in the case.
Ironically, Advocate N Rajesh, who appeared for the accused in the case, was appointed as the Chairman of the Child Welfare Committee by the Pinarayi Vijayan government. His appointment came even as the trial was still continuing adding to the controversy.
As the protest against the Kerala government intensified, the case echoed in the Kerala Legislative Assembly on Monday with the opposition highlighting the lapses in investigation and prosecution. Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan stated in the floor of the assembly that the government will examine if there are any such lapses and will decide on seeking a CBI probe or reinvestigating the cases.