TWO minor girls in Walayar were found hanging in their home in 2017, in Walayar in Palakkad district of Kerala. The 13-year-old girl was found hanging in January 2017 while her 9-year-old sister was found hanging in the same house in March 2017. The circumstances and medical examination suggested sexual assault and murder rather than suicide – but the police right from the outset avoided probing the leads and gathering the evidence. Instead they initially treating the deaths as suicides. Eventually, some persons were accused and brought to trial and have recently been acquitted for lack of evidence.
The younger sister had claimed to witness some men running away from the scene of her elder sister’s death. The police failed to probe the first death or provide protection and care for the younger sister who was a potential witness. Had they done so, the death of the younger girl might have been prevented.
It is clear that the police’s failure to gather basic evidence led to a situation where the fact of rape and murder could not be established, let alone identifying the guilty. Medical examination had suggested that the girls were victims of repeated sexual assault – but the police had failed to collect any evidence from the victims’ bodies that could identify the perpetrators.
In a blatant conflict of interest, one of the lawyers for the accused in the Walayar child sexual abuse case had been appointed as the Palakkad Child Welfare Committee chairperson. He was removed only after the furore that followed the acquittal of all the accused in the case.
AIPWA demands a fresh investigation of the case to ensure that the truth about the suspicious deaths of the two sisters is established, and the perpetrators of sexual assault and murder are brought to justice.