Jisha, a law student of Government Law College, Ernakulam was brutally raped and murdered on April 28. The attack took place inside her home at Perumbavoor. Her mother found the body of the 29 year old when she returned home from work at night. Post mortem suggests that she was tortured and attacked viciously before death. While a severe head injury took her life, more than 30 wounds were found on her body including two deep cuts on her chest, about 2 inches deep. She was also raped with an iron rod which caused her intestines to spill out. Police had not arrested anyone in the five days succeeding the attack; however they have detained two unknown suspects now according to recent news.
Jisha’s death also invited the usual victim blaming from media and politicians. Questions were raised about her not fighting back or screaming. Kerala Chief Minister, Oommen Chandy blamed the media publicity for the slowness of the investigation, although all the media houses have been busy with election news.
It is being said that the police kept the news on the down low because of the upcoming elections. There have also been other violations in place. Jisha’s name, photograph and video of her body were released in the media which is a violation of Sec 228A, which clearly states the sexual assault victim’s right to privacy.
“The girl had studied till LLB despite hailing from a poor family. Her house was built in a two-cent ‘purambokku’ land and her father had abandoned her when she was a child. It now emerges that she was brutally raped and murdered on the lines of the Nirbhaya case. It’s the first such incident to be reported in our state. The authorities should not show any laxity. They should take immediate steps to find out the culprits,” said Dr T.N. Seema, state president, All-India Democratic Women’s Association.
“The autopsy report points to rape and subsequent murder. The attack must have taken place between 1 pm and 5 pm on Friday. The investigation is progressing in the right direction and we’re taking the statements of all neighbours,” said Anil Kumar, DySP, Perumbavur, who is heading the investigation.
“It is a case of violent murder. Though the post-mortem report suggests chances of sexual assault or rape, we are awaiting a few laboratory results to confirm the same. We’ve ruled out theft as motive. Various teams constituted for the probe are fully engaged and we expect a breakthrough soon,” said Yathish Chandra, Ernakulam Rural Superintendent of Police.
The incident highlights the poor safety concerns for the Dalits in the area. Kerala BJP chief Kummanam Rajasekharan has slammed the state government over the lack of security for women and Dalits in a statement to Onmanorama. He said this is not the first time that an incident like this has taken place in Kerala. Meanwhile, Chief minister Oommen Chandy has said that the central zone IG will probe the case. He said that sternest action will be taken against the culprit.
Online protests have surfaced on social media with the hashtag #JusticeForJisha. People are demanding fair justice for Jisha, whose case has been taken too lightly by the authorities till now. Hopefully with the pressure mounting due to online and offline protests and media coverage, the authorities will try harder to apprehend the guilty.