A dalit law student was brutally raped and murdered in Kerala, with the sheer brutality of the crime evoking memories of the 2012 Nirbhaya gang rape
T Satisan, Kochi
Jisha, a Dalit girl in Perumbavoor, hardly 40 kms off Kochi, was found dead in her hut on the bank of a canal. Post-mortem reports state that 38 cuts and injuries have been found in her body and she had undergone severe sexual abuse and torture. Jisha’s internal organs have been dispatched for chemical tests. Jisha, an LLB student, was staying with her mother Rajeshwari, a domestic servant. They did not have own home hence they settled in the purambokku (no man’s land, but under government control) land. Jisha’s father had moved out from the family years before and settled separately. Her elder sister separated from her husband and lives with the father. Therefore, Jisha and Rajeshwari were leading an insecure life, especially in the wake of the strained relations they had with the people around. They did not have proper doors for home or the so-called toilet.
CPM says NO to hang Rapists
Vindicating the Party’s unjustifiable stand on Yakub Memon’s hanging, in a Malayalam Daily (Mathrubhumi) last year, CPM polit bureau member M A Baby categorically declared that whether it was Yakub Memon or Govindachami or the murderers of TP Chandrasekharan CPM would be adamant on its stand against the capital punishment.
A B Biju, District coordinator of Hindu Aikya Vedi, visited Jisha’s house and her mother in the hospital after the incident. He told Organiser that there were some people who had tried to evict Jisha and Rajeshwari from the canal side. He says, he could gather that the local CPI councilor in the local Gram Panchayat was the leader of the group who tried to evict the family. Councillor had garnered the support of some local people in his endeavour. It has been also reported that this situation had led to the strained relations between Jisha’s family and the others in the locale. Rajeshwari usually went to work at 3 PM and returned by around 8 PM. It is reported that the murder took place between 3 PM and 5 PM.
When Rajeshwari returned from work in the late evening of April 28, Jisha was lying dead in a pool of blood. Even though Rajeshwari screamed on top of her voice no neighbour came out to help her for some time. Later on somebody came to help Rajeshwari to take her (dead) daughter to the hospital. Post-mortem revealed that Jisha’s private part was totally mutilated with some sharp weapon. The back of her head had a deep wound due to a heavy blow with an iron rod. There were wounds of stab in her neck, chin and chest.
It has been reported that some strangers were seen around the area on the fateful day. It has been also reported that the relatives were asked to cremate the body immediately after it was brought back after the post-mortem. This act has put an end to all possible further examinations of the body. There are reports that the post-mortem was done by a PG medical student. There are allegations that now some senior doctors are being pressed to claim that they were involved in post-mortem!
Another interesting incident reported from the area is about an accident Rajeshwari had to meet with few weeks before. A bike ridden by a migrant labour had hit Rajeshwari near the house. She cried loudly, but no one came to her rescue. Jisha heard her mother’s scream and took her to the hospital. She had taken the bike key with her. Naturally there was an altercation between her and the migrant labour in this connection. Some people wonder if there is any link between this bike accident and the murder.
Police has already started investigation. They have already taken into custody a guy from Kannur who belongs to the area of murder. A neighbour has reportedly told the police that a man was seen going out from the house around the time of incident. Several people are being interrogated.
E S Biju, Hindu Aikya Vedi leader and the local BJP candidate in the imminent Assembly polls, had visited Jisha’s house the same evening after the body had been taken to the hospital. But the mainstream political parties and the print as well as electronic media took up the matter only by May 2. People of Kerala wonder why the self-styled saviours of the Dalits kept aloof for four days. While people are blaming police’s inefficiency for delay in tracing the culprits, how can local political parties justify their inordinate delay in interfering in the matter? The same politicians keep on shouting against Hindu organisations and Modi government if something happens in Northern Bharat or even in Karnataka or Andhra. Perumbavoor MLA belongs to CPM and the state is ruled by Congress-led UDF. Home Minister Ramesh Chennithala had to return sans visiting Rajeshwari in the hospital due to strong protests from the people.
A Dalit youth had been killed in Perumbavoor town hardly two years before. No culprit was booked or punished. In an another incident, a Dalit girl was raped by an auto driver in Varkkala near Thiruvananthapuram on May 3. A 68-years-old woman was also raped in Thiruvananthapuram district on May 3.
Now, both CPM and Congress are engaged in blame game. Leader of Opposition V S Achuthanandan, after visiting Rajeshwari in the hospital, criticised the Oommen Chandy regime severely. He says that the policy of the State government and the inefficiency of the forces are the reasons for the Jisha incident. But, both Fronts have miserably failed to bring the culprits of the much talked about Kiliroor and Suryanelli sex scandals even though they have been ruling the state turn by turn, after every five years. When Kilinoor girl was sinking in the hospital in early 2004, VS had said that a VIP had visited the girl in the hospital and spoken to her; her health situation deteriorated since then. The minor girl delivered a baby girl before she died in 2004. VS had declared during the election campaign for the 2006 assembly elections, the VIP would be arrested as soon as the LDF government led by him takes over.
Kummanam Rajasekharan said that VS’s going back on his words regarding VIP in Kiliroor case makes the culprits bolder to commit these sorts of crimes. Leaders should keep the promises when they come to power.
But, despite his rule for 5 years nothing happened and he kept mum whenever media persons asked him about it. People were openly discussing the role of some VIPs in both scandals. So, the Keralites believe that that is why the culprits are safe.
Even after varieties of awareness programmes and the hyped ‘Nirbhaya’ scheme of the Home Department, women are still unsafe in Kerala. This is what statistics speak out. In the year 2014, 13,880 cases of crimes against women were registered in the State. It was an increase from 13,788 of the previous year. These are the figures from State Crime Records Bureau. Thiruvananthapuram Rural had the maximum number of rape cases; Malappuram tops the list of cases related to cruelty towards women by husbands and relatives. Thiruvananthapuram Rural stands first in molestation and dowry deaths with the figure of 580 and 5 cases respectively. Kollam Rural follows Palakkad in kidnapping: 16. Ernakulam Rural tops in eve-teasing with 38 cases in 2014.
In 2013, Thiruvananthapuram was number one in rape, dowry deaths and molestation cases with 129, 6 and 640 cases respectively. Malappuram came second in rapes with 99. Thiruvananthapuram City stood second in molestation cases with 299.
Malappuram stood first in 2013 with respect to cruelty by husbands and relatives with 650 cases. The same year Kozhikode stood first in eve teasing cases with 44. Numbers of other offences were highest in Kannur: 345.
National Women’s Commission member Rekha Sharma visited Rajeshwari and collected information. Union Social Justice Minister Thawar Chand Gehlot is scheduled to visit Rajeshwari on May 5. Union Home Ministry has sought reports from the Government of Kerala.
ABVP conducted a protest march demanding the immediate arrest of the culprits.
People of Kerala blame both ruling UDF and Opposition CPM-led LDF for the worsening law and order situation in Kerala, especially for the attacks on Dalits. People realise the double standards both Fronts follow with respect to Dalit issues. When the reports come from other states, they immediately blame Sangh Parivar and Modi regime. When it is in Kerala, they keep mum.
In another words, Dalit issues are vote catching devices for both Communists and Congress. Reports suggest that this pitiable situation will be reflected in the voting pattern during the imminent Assembly polls.