The principal sessions court in Ernakulam district on Tuesday found a migrant worker from Assam guilty of the rape and murder of a Dalit law student last year.
Judge Anil Kumar found Ameerul Islam (23), hailing from Assam’s Nagaon district, guilty under Sections 376 (rape), 302 (murder), 449 (trespassing into house) and 342 (wrongful confinement) of the IPC. The court did not find him guilty for destroying evidence and relevant sections under SC/ST Prevention of Atrocities Act.
The quantum of punishment will be pronounced on Wednesday.
The victim, a 30-year-old Dalit woman, was found dead in her hut near Perumbavoor municipal town in Ernakulam district on April 28, 2016.
The murder triggered outrage across Kerala, and women’s security became a major issue in the Assembly elections held three weeks later.
After assuming office, the LDF government in its maiden Cabinet meeting constituted a special team to probe the murder. Police arrested Islam 56 days after the incident. He was found to have been living 200 metres from the victim’s house at the time of the offence.
The woman lived with her mother, who was not at home at the time of the crime. The prosecution argued that the victim was raped and brutally murdered. Severe wounds were inflicted on her private parts even after she was killed, they said.
Hearing the court verdict, Islam pleaded innocence. The victim’s mother, who was rehabilitated by the state government, sought capital punishment for the accused.