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Sunday, June 4, 2023

Furore in Kerala after CPM-linked persons acquitted for rape & murder of two minor Dalit sisters

Childhood is a phase of innocence when every kid needs the assurance of growing up safely and happily. However, over the past several years we have been repeatedly hearing about cases of child sexual abuse; irrespective of gender, but generally girls turnout to be the victims in most cases.

In what can only be termed as alarming and shocking, 24, 212 cases of child abuse have been reported between January 1, 2019 and June 30, 2019; this translates to one rape every five minutesFollowing the Nirbhaya case, one would expect sexual abuse laws to be stricter, especially the ones for child sexual abuse and for prosecution in such cases to be water-tight.

There is also a perception created by left-liberal commentariat that sexual abuse is a problem mostly affecting the North of the country, but the ugly reality is far different. In our country, where the wheels of justice move at a snail’s pace and privileged and entitled people generally escape the clutches of laws, using their influence and power, it doesn’t come as a surprise that the accused in the rape and murder of two minor Dalit sisters from Kerala have walked free.

Reacting to the acquittal, the children’s mother said that she never thought the accused would be let off. “The police have erred. I had recounted everything in court. Never thought that the accused would be let off. I did not even know that the verdict would be pronounced today,” she said.

The case

In January 2017, an 11-year-old girl was found hanging in her home in Walayar town of Palakkad district. Her 9-year-old younger sister was also founding hanging in the same room just two months after the death of the elder one. Investigations and post-mortem reports have revealed that both the girls had been sexually abused and the trauma had driven them to suicide.

All the five accused, one of whom is a juvenile, were known to the family. It has also come to light that their parents were aware about the elder daughter being subjected to repeated sexual abuse over a period of time and fear of involving the police had led them to let off V. Madhu, one of the accused, with a warning. However, it has now emerged that both girls were sexually abused over a period of time, in the worst manner possible, and the trauma had led them to commit suicide.

All the four adult accused have been let off for ‘want of evidence’. The juvenile accused is currently lodged in a correction centre for minors. While the opposition has demanded a CBI enquiry and squarely blamed the Kerala State Government for shoddy investigations, with the Leader of Opposition Ramesh Chennithala from Congress accusing the state government and prosecution of ‘helping the accused rather than the victims’; CM Pinarayi Vijayan has remained non-committal about handing over the case to CBI for a thorough investigation.

The CPM link

It is believed that perpetrators V. Madhu, M. Madhu, Shibu and Pradeep Kumar were CPM workers or had links to influential CPM leaders which explains the shoddy investigations conducted by the prosecution that led the courts to let off the accused.

Local CPM leaders supported the accused and CPM leader & Child Welfare Committee Chairman Rajesh represented them, showing that the accused had full support of the ruling party machinery. What can be more depressing for parents, who have lost two young daughters to a heinous crime, than knowing that it is the state machinery itself that is shielding the accused?

Shockingly, one of the investigating officers DySP Sojan is reported to have said that the 11 & 9 year olds took part in ‘consensual sex’. And fresh evidence of links of the accused with high-ranking CPM officials and leaders are emerging –

The comrades in Kerala organized several protests against rape cases in the North like Kathua and Unnao . They claim that southern states like Kerala are more ‘civilised’ compared to the ‘patriarchal, regressive, cow-belt’ northern states. But case after case has demonstrated that Communists are a law unto themselves, when in power the naturally tend towards fascism and authoritarianism, and that in the absence of any indigenous cultural/religious grounding their cadre often lack moral fibre.

In the light of all these revelations, the Walayar case needs to be handed over to the CBI and a proper and quick investigation needs to be done so that the perpetrators are brought to justice. That is the least that can be done for parents who have lost two innocent children for no fault of theirs. 

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