Kerala Police has arrested Rahim (60) for the rape, impregnation and murder of a Divyang (differently-abled) Christian woman near Manathavady, Wayanad. Police were searching for the accused since the end of November – it is believed that Rahim admitted to his crime during interrogation.
Rini, daughter of Pallikkal Devasya from Moolithodu parish and Mary, died on November 20, 2021. Back then, she was 5 months pregnant. According to police, the lab report showed that Rahim, the unborn child’s father, had poisoned Rini.
Rini’s father and sister are undergoing treatment for mental issues. Rahim, who is their neighbor, understood that the family was in poverty and decided to take advantage of the girl. Rini had been married once but was facing a divorce case in court. Rahim is an auto driver who used to take her to court. Using it as a pretext, he took Rini to Kozhikode and raped her on several occasions.
Allegedly, he killed her knowing fully well that she was pregnant but it is unclear what the immediate trigger was to poison her soft drinks. After murdering her, he went into hiding. Mananthavady police finally caught him from Ervadi in Tamil Nadu.
Ervadi in Tirunelveli district is infamous for mass conversions to Islam, and has a dargah/mosque that is rumored to have the power to ‘cure’ mental illness. Divyang people, Hindus and Muslims alike, are made to believe that there is some supernatural power there and many are abandoned, often chained together like animals, unable even to save themselves from accidental fires. In some ways, such superstitious attitudes remind us of how human suffering is glorified at centers run by ‘Mother’ Teresa’s missionaries.
So a place like Ervadi is perfect if you running away from the law. Rahim probably thought he could blend in unnoticed or maybe even escape into Sri Lanka, but Kerala Police put paid to his plans.
After arresting him, police ran DNA tests and that is how they detected that he was the father of the dead baby.
But it remains to be seen if Rini and her family will get justice. History tells us that such families, the poorest of the poor, get the rough end of the stick from our system. High-powered liberal lawyers are wont to protect criminals based on their identity, and some judges with churned-up moral compasses also look for reasons to deliver light sentences.
Why else would Charlie Thomas (affectionately named Govindachamy by anti-Hindu media) who pushed a young Soumya from a train in 2011, raped her when she was dying of her wounds, escape with just seven years of imprisonment? What else explains Ameer ul Islam (a criminal from Assam) stabbing a young Jisha 30 times in 2016, raping her while she was dying and plying her with liquor through knife slits in her throat when she asked for water in her dying moments, being given just a life sentence?
Why is it that certain cases are buried or put on the backburner by media, governments and judiciary, while others are fast-tracked with courts showing great urgency for the benefit of media vultures who throng such circuses? It has everything to do with our diseased political discourse and the minoritarian outlook of our Republic.
Will Rahim’s rape case too have a pre-scripted ending with a relatively light sentence? Will Rini’s family end up with the same sense of betrayal that families of Soumya and Jisha suffered? Incidentally, a lot of locals are also watching how Rahul Gandhi, the local MP from Wayanad, responds to this case.