Kerala govt faces ire over crime against women, girls

Kerala govt faces ire over crime against women, girls

Kerala govt faces ire over crime against women, girls

Allegations by the Congress-led Opposition of the state government’s failure in tackling crime against women dominated debates in the Kerala Legislative Assembly on International Women’s Day, on Wednesday.

Kerala has reported at least four rape and sexual abuse cases against minor girls over the past 10 days, with serious allegations being raised against the police in its handling of the reported suicide of two minor sisters, aged 12 and nine, in Walayar in Palakkad district.

Congress MLA K Muraleedharan, seeking a motion for adjournment in connection with the cases, said Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan was looking away as more cases of sexual crimes were being reported.

Members of the Opposition United Democratic Front arrived at the House, carrying banners with messages demanding safety for women in the state.

Leader of the Opposition Ramesh Chennithala later told reporters that culprits in the Walayar incident were being “protected” because of their political affiliations.

The sisters were found hanging in their one-room home on January 9 and March 4.

The girls’ mother, Bhagyavathi, said a relative had been sexually abusing her older daughter, and the younger child had seen a couple of men near their home on the day of her sister’s death.

It is learnt that the police treated the first death as a case of suicide, though there were indications of abuse in the autopsy report.

On Wednesday, the CPM-led state government ordered a reshuffle of the investigation team.

The chief minister told the House that relevant sections of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act would be invoked in both the cases.