A 22-year-old communist leader belonging to the Democratic Youth Federation of India (DYFI) named Arjun had been arrested after he raped and killed a six-year-old girl near Vandiperiyar in the Idukki district of Kerala. He had been raping her since she was three!
The girl was found hanging in her house on the 30th of June and local police wrote it off as an accidental death while playing with the rope. The local Sub-Inspector of Police (SI) did not accompany the body (as is required by law) when it went for a post-mortem and the same was instead attended by a woman civil police officer. The body was taken to Kottayam medical college instead of the one at Idukki. All these were grounds of suspicion that something was not right.
The Intelligence Department took cognizance and sent one of their SI’s to the hospital. The doctors then showed the relevant bruises on the victim’s body to the SI and confirmed rape in the autopsy report. The SI reported the matter to the Intelligence ADGP. These are serious lapses and it shows that the police have learned nothing from the Walayar case, where two such underage girls were raped and subsequently hung and killed. Arjun had his DNA all over the victim and doctors recovered his hair from the body.
On that fateful day, Arjun saw that all the boys had gathered behind their quarters to have their hair cut. He approached the girl and started his abuse. Unable to bear the pain she collapsed unconscious. Arjun thought that she was dead and wanted to make it look like a natural death. The girl was not dead, not yet.
He used a piece of cloth and a rope (used to hang plantains to ripen) and hung the little girl from the ceiling. The girl opened her eyes apparently gasping for those last breaths of air. Arjun mercilessly watched all this and waited to make sure that she was no more. He then closed her eyelids, locked the room from inside, escaped through a window with no sills, and joined his friends. The victim’s elder brother returned around 3 pm and found his sister’s body hanging from the ceiling.
Though the police questioned many at the scene of the crime no arrests were made initially. The victim’s parents are labourers working at the Churakkulam estate and lived in their quarters nearby. The girl and her elder brother were usually alone during the day when the parents left for work. It seems that Arjun had been raping the poor victim for the past three years and he admitted that he used to entice the girl with chocolates whenever she complained about the pain.
Arjun, an active member of the DYFI who had recently posted photos on social media of his organization’s covid relief activities even helped with his victim’s funeral. He lived a couple of rooms away from the victim and had easy access to that family. To avoid any suspicions among the neighbours, he cried uncontrollably and helped set the pandal using a tarpaulin that he himself bought. He also took part in preparing food for the victim’s relatives who came down from Tamil Nadu.
Arjun told the police that he had not seen the girl for the past two days. One of Arjun’s relatives felt something amiss. She told the police that she had seen him with the victim on the day the girl was killed. Arjun was called to the police station and he started giving contradicting statements and eventually admitted to the crime.
Locals resisted when the police brought the accused to the estate for collecting evidence. The child’s neighbours turned violent and tried to assault him. The police left the place in a hurry. Fearing such attacks both Arjun’s and the victim’s family had been earlier shifted elsewhere by the authorities.
It is alleged that though the girl’s family noticed marks on her body they never took it seriously! Incidentally, no feminists, social workers, renowned personalities, or film stars came out in support of the victim (unlike they usually do when it’s a child rape in Kashmir or UP). The DYFI silence when its young comrades are running amok is also notable.
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