Protests Rock Kerala as Accused in Sexual Assault, Death of Minor Sisters Walk Free
The two sisters aged 13 and 9 were found hanging at their residence in Palakkad.
Image for representation. (Photo: Reuters)
Thiruvananthapuram: The POCSO court on Monday acquitted three accused in the sexual assault of two minor girls aged 13 and 9 who were later found hanging, leading to widespread protests against the government and the state police.
The court said police and prosecution had failed to establish the crime leading to the acquittal of the men for the incident that happened over two years ago. This was followed by the 9-year-old’s death within three months. The post-mortem report of the younger sister had revealed unnatural sexual offence. She had also testified that she had seen two men exit her elder sister's room earlier.
The mother of the girls said, “I had witnessed Madhu [accused] abusing my elder child. We warned him and asked him not to come to our house anymore but it was only on the day my daughter died did we get to know that Madhu would come when we were out for work. The day my elder daughter was found dead, her sister said she had seen two men running out of the house with their face covered. She had also given this statement before the investigation team.”
The woman said the government had assured them that the accused would be punished even if they had political links but that did not happen.
The issue soon took a political turn, with Congress MLA Shafi Parambil raising it in the assembly and demanding an enquiry by an external agency. "The post-mortem report clearly speaks about sexual assault. If after the first girl’s death, police had enquired, the younger girl could have been saved,” he said.
Opposition leader Ramesh Chennithala demanded a CBI probe into the matter.
Reacting to the incident, Kerala CM Pinarayi Vijayan said in the state assembly that it was unfortunate that the accused had not been punished. “We all expected them to be punished. It has to be probed whether this is prosecution's defeat or lapses in police probe. The sad end of these two girls will disturb anyone with a conscience. They have to get justice. The government is with the victims. A decision on whether re-investigation is required or a CBI probe will be taken.”
Meanwhile, youth congress and yuva morcha took out protest marches to the Palakkad SP office.
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