Nearly 20 months after 30-year-old Dalit law student Jisha was raped and murdered in her residence, the Ernakulam Principal Sessions Court is set to pronounce the verdict now.
The brutal murder, which took place on April 28, 2016, triggered massive public outrage, and a pitched debate on the question of women’s safety in Kerala. One-and-a-half months after the incident and various twists and turns later, the police arrested Ameerul Islam, a migrant worker from Assam. Ameerul is the only accused in the case.
According to the prosecution, Ameerul had barged into Jisha’s house in a drunken state with the intention to sexually assault her, because he knew she was alone at the time. It has argued that Ameerul killed Jisha as she resisted him.
The hearing of the case began on April 4, this year and went on for 85 days. The prosecution presented as many as 195 witnesses, 290 documents and 36 material evidences against Ameer, including DNA reports. The police believe that the evidence is sound enough to nab the accused.
Twist and turns to Jisha’s Case:
Occurring just before the May 2016 elections in the state, Jisha’s case also turned into a political weapon, with the previous UDF government accused of failing to ensure the safety of women and of being laggard on questions of law and order. When the LDF government came to power, it initiated a fresh probe into the case under ADGP Sandhya.
But the case also raised much more disturbing questions about the position of Dalit women in Kerala society, as ground reports revealed a persistent apathy towards Jisha’s family from those living in the neighborhood.
TNM’s reporters found that much of the discussion among Jisha’s neighbours revolved around judgements on the “character” of Jisha’s mother and sister. Jisha’s mother Rajeshwari herself narrated incidents of friction with the neighbourhood community, and also talked of a persistent worry about her daughters’ safety that had haunted her for long before Jisha’s death.
Even on the night of the murder, it emerged, neighbours who heard alarming noises coming from Jisha’s house had failed to intervene in any way.
Jisha’s death also exposed a deep schism in Kerala society regarding the place of migrant labourers. Much before Ameerul’s arrest, fingers were first pointed at the migrant population in Perumbavoor, and Jisha’s death became the occasion for calls for stricter monitoring of migrants.
Core Story of the Crime:
The man accused in the murder of a 30-year-old Dalit woman at Perumbavoor, was arrested in another case for allegedly engaging in sexual activities with a goat.
Police said Ameerul Islam, who was a migrant worker from Assam, had confessed during custodial interrogation that he had engaged in sexual activities with animals in the neighbourhood of the lodge where he used to stay in Perumbavoor.
Based on his confession statement, the local police conducted an investigation in the area and a goat was found with injuries in its private parts.
Ameerul was booked by the Kuruppampady police under sections including unnatural offence and cruelty against animals after the owner of the goat lodged a complaint against him, police said.
Ameerul was kept at the Kakkanad sub-jail where has been lodged after being remanded to judicial custody till July 13th by a court here. Police reported that the incident occurred in February this year.
Ameerul was arrested last month for rape and brutal murder of the Dalit woman who hailed from a poor family on April 28th.Perumbavoor Judicial First Class Magistrate had sent 23-year-old Ameerul to judicial custody.
The accused, hailing from Assam, was arrested on the charge of killing the law student, 50 days after the gruesome incident that had become a major issue in the Kerala Assembly elections in May.
This was a case of an ordinary law student from Kerala. And the government took a delay of “20 months” in order to propose justice to her. I raise a question now, would the government make the same delay, if this happened to any of the celebrity or a well-known name in the society? Is law and order discriminating among the high society and the ordinary people? Well, the government alone can make an effort to answer this.