A shocking rape case goes to trial next week in Kerala
A case in which 150-odd men stand accused of raping a minor girl is going to go to trial in Kerala next week. Last June, a 14-year-old girl from Paravur in Ernakulam district told her aunt how her father had first raped her and then forced her into the sex trade by taking her to several places in and outside the state. All those who had sex with her are now facing rape charges. So far, 96 persons have been arrested. Chargesheets have been filed against 46 and the girl’s own father is listed as the first accused. Of those accused, two have committed suicide—one, a doctor, took his life in Dubai, and the other, who tested HIV positive, did it in jail.
The case has led to a public uproar in Kerala, and the accused include people from all walks of life—engineers, doctors, film actors, businessmen and politicians, including, it is suspected, VIPs. An initial chargesheet was submitted on 30 November. More people are expected to be chargesheeted as the trial progresses. After the Kerala High Court ordered that the trial be completed before 31 May 2012, it has been fast-tracked in the judiciary.
According to the chargesheet, the father raped her first. She was a tenth standard student at the time. He then handed her over to his friends. She was told her younger brother would be killed if she did not do as he wanted. The girl’s mother, who was an accused and later turned approver, said she had to cooperate with the father because her life was under threat. The terrified girl went on suffering silently. She couldn’t take it any longer when she was taken to Bangalore and raped by many over two weeks. She managed to escape, and, reaching Kerala, took refuge in her aunt’s house. Her father tried to take her away but the aunt refused. The dispute ended with the intervention of the police.
Advocate TB Mini, on whose petition the High Court ordered a speedy disposal of the case, said, “In such cases, nobody—neither the Government nor social activists— pays attention to bringing the girl back to normal life. Instead, their focus is lopsidedly on bringing the accused to justice.”