The opposition's vociferous and unrelenting demand for a CBI probe into the rape and death of two minor sisters at Walayar in Kerala's Palakkad district disrupted the proceedings of the first day of the 16th session of the Assembly on Monday.
Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said the government would go in appeal against the October 25 order of the Palakkad special POCSO court to acquit the three main accused in the case. The chief minister also said the services of a top lawyer will also be sought. The opposition was not satisfied.
Congress MLA Shafi Parambil, who moved an adjournment motion on the issue, said a de novo inquiry or a fresh probe, like what the Rajasthan government did in the Pehlu Khan lynching case, alone would suffice. Later, opposition leader Ramesh Chennithala, too, called for a CBI probe.
The chief minister had termed as “baseless” the opposition charge that the case was sabotaged. In reply, Shafi Parambil was both scornful and emotional. “It is no secret that the case has been fully scuttled. In the chief minister's Facebook post on March 8, 2017, it was said that you would take the death of two minor girls seriously. You said the same thing today. Both then and today you said strong action would be taken. Is it the ease with which those who raped and killed two minor girls had walked out free you call strong action,” Shafi asked.
“You then said the culprits, however mighty they are, would be brought to justice,” Shafi told the chief minister. “You have been able to do nothing,” he said. “Now they have been let scot free by the court,” he added.
Shafi accused the police of shocking indifference. “The mother of the girls had told the police that she had seen one of the accused abusing her child. The man was taken into custody but was brought out of jail by local CPM leaders,” Shafi said.
“Merely 52 days later, the second child died and it was revealed that the very same men were behind this too. If the police had taken the mother's word seriously, if they had acted then, the life of at least one of these girls could have been saved,” Shafi said. “But why should the police fear when they have the backing of the local party bigwigs,” he added.
Shafi then read out from the autopsy report of the child. In precise scientific terms, the report establishes that both the children were subjected to violent unnatural sex multiple times. “Despite such a report the police were too eager to pass the deaths off as suicide,” Shafi said.
He said there were witness statements that one of the accused was seen walking out of the house on the day the elder girl was found hanging. “The police have never recorded this as an evidence,” Shafi said.
There was yet another piece of evidence that the police had ignored. A friend of the 13-year-old victim had told the police that the girl had ran away when one of the accused had appeared before them while the friends were together. Later, when the friends asked her why she was frightened, she had told them that the man regularly hurt her. “The friend had testified before the police but still the police were in a tearing hurry to write off the death as a suicide,” Shafi said.
Realising the gravity of the abuse, the doctor who had conducted the autopsy had even attached the photograph of the brutally violated parts of the victims. The implausibility of a nine-year-old girl committing suicide by hanging was also emphasised in the report. “The possibility of homicidal hanging should be first ruled out,” the autopsy report says. But the police had concluded that the children had committed suicide.
Shafi accused that it was the chairman of the Palakkad Child Welfare Committee who had appeared for the accused in the court. He both refuted and ridiculed social justice minister K K Shylaja's statement that the lawyer was made the CWC chairman after getting a written undertaking from him that he would not appear for the accused in the case. Shafi produced court documents to show that the person had appeared for the accused even after he was made the CWC chairman.
“But more importantly, will anyone make Kodi Suni the DGP after getting a written assurance from him that he would not kill anyone. Or for that matter would anyone make Govindachami the social justice director after getting a written assurance that he would not touch women,” Shafi said.