Outrage in Kerala over Dalit Woman Rape, NHRC Sends Notice, Two in Custody

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Outrage in Kerala over Nirbhaya-like Dalit Woman Rape, NHRC Sends Notice, Two in Custody

Two persons have been reportedly taken into custody in connection with the rape and brutal murder of a 30-year-old Dalit woman, Jisha,  at Perumbavoor that sparked protest marches by students and rights activists across Kerala today condemning the incident.

The National Human Rights Commission has taken suo moto cognizance of media reports of the brutal rape and murder of a 30-year-old law student in the Ernakulam district of Kerala and issued a notice to Government of Kerala. Sections of the media have started a debate on whether Jisha was a Dalit or not.

After reports of the gruesome and shocking incident that took place on April 28 were reported in leading Kerala dailies, the political class responded. The crime has been dubbed "Kerala's Nirbhaya" for its chilling similarities to the gang-rape in 2012 of a young Delhi student on a moving bus. The girl later succumbed to her injuries. The Dalit woman, a law college student, hailing from a poor family was raped and brutally assaulted using sharp edged weapons before being murdered at her house at Perumbavoor in Ernakulam district on April 28. She was found dead in a pool of blood at her one room home at 8 pm on April 28 by her mother when she returned from work.

The incident occurred inside her house, neighbours had seen the victim at around 1 pm. So it might have happened after that. Police were informed after her mother saw the body around 8 pm. "As of now we have not got any evidence (pointing to an accused). It is an area where a lot of migrant labourers reside, so we are extending our enquiry to them too,".Anil Kumar, Deputy Superintendent of Police, Perumbavoor told The Deccan Herald. Jisha, a law student, lived with her mother Rajeswari on a plot of ‘purambokku’ land. At the time of the murder, the victim was alone at home as her mother had gone out to work. Hasna, a trade Union activist and Jisha’s junior in college met her mother on Monday. Her mother is inconsolable and requested all of her friends to go home and take care of themselves. She pleaded us to be safe and secure. Jisha was an introvert. She hardly mingled with anybody at college, say her friends.

Kerala State Commission for Scheduled Caste and Tribes registered a suo motu case into the incident and asked police to submit a report on the progress of the probe by May 28 while the Kerala Human Rights Commission ordered that the probe be handed over to the Crime branch. Taking suo motu cognisance of the case on the basis of media reports, state Human Rights Commission Chairman Justice J B Koshy issued a direction to the state DGP in this regard.

"Kerala is shocked by the brutal murder of a young woman. The culprits will be brought to book and the severest punishment will be ensured to those who involved into the incident," Chandy said. Condemning the crime as a 'heinous one', chairman of the state commission for scheduled castes and tribes, Justice P N Vijayakumar said he has sought formation of a Special Investigation Team to probe the incident.

"The commission suo-motu registered a case into the incident based on the reports of the vernacular and national dailies. I asked DGP to form a SIT to probe into the case. I also asked police to submit a report of the progress of the case by May 28," Justice Vijayakumar told PTI in Thiruvanathapuram.The commission also suggested that special mobile squads such as those operating in Wayanad,  Palakkad and Kasaragod be formed for the safety of SCs and STs, in all districts of the state for the security of women and children irrespective of caste barriers.

Women's rights activists and political leaders, cutting across party lines, have voiced concern against the murder which they believe was a first of its kind in the state for the sheer brutality of the crime.The brutal murder has shocked the state, with women activists and students taking to the streets, demanding justice for the woman.
Students and rights activists took out protest marches in various parts of the state condemning the incident.

Students of Kerala University at Thiruvanathapuram broke pots, considering it as the symbol of cruelty shown by society towards women, to mark their protest. Protests were also held by Law college students at Ernakulam.

State Women's Commission Chairperson K C Rosakutty said she would take all necessary steps to pressure police to nab all those behind the brutal act at the earliest.

Terming the incident as 'devilish', CPI(M) leader and Lok Sabha MP, P K Sreemathi said no other women in the state should be subjected to such a cruelty any more.
"It is one of the most brutal attacks against a woman in the state. It is the same as that had happened to the hapless Nirbhaya in Delhi. It is shocking that the public and media came to know about the incident only five days after the incident," she told PTI.



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