March 16, 2021 1:55:48 pm
The mother of the two minor Dalit sisters, who were sexually assaulted and murdered in Walayar in 2017, announced her decision to contest as an Independent candidate against chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan in Dharmadom constituency in the upcoming Assembly elections.
She said her candidacy was a mark of protest against the LDF government and the chief minister for allegedly protecting and defending the police officers who initially probed the case which led to the accused being acquitted through the verdict of the trial court. The verdict was later set aside by the High Court following an appeal by the state government and a re-trial was ordered.
“After discussions with the protest committee, I have decided to contest as an independent in Dharmadom. To get justice for my daughters, I was forced to sit on the streets and tonsure my head. Police officers like DySP Sojan and SI Chacko deserve to be out of service. I want to see them without the police cap on their head,” the victims’ mother told reporters in Thrissur.
On January 13, 2017, the older of the two sisters, aged 13, was found hanging on a rafter inside the family’s one-room home near Walayar on the Kerala-Tamil Nadu border. Two months later, on March 4, the younger sibling aged nine was also found hanging on the same rafter, leading to widespread protests across the state.
Post-mortem examinations of the two children confirmed they were subjected to sexual assault before their deaths. Following protests, five persons were arrested by the police.
However, on October 25, 2019, a special POCSO court acquitted three of the accused while another accused was found not guilty in an earlier judgment. The judge noted that the prosecution failed miserably in proving the alleged offences against the accused beyond reasonable doubt.
In January this year, the High Court set aside the verdict of the trial court, ordering the re-arrest of the accused and a re-trial of the case. The state government also decided to hand over the case to the CBI.