It has been three years since the 30-year-old Dalit law student from Perumabvoor in Ernakulam district, was brutally raped and killed inside her own house by a native of Assam.
If not for social media and the protests initiated by few people, her death would never have been known to the world and the culprit would have easily slipped away. However, three years on, the activists who staged demonstrations against the initial police inaction in her murder case, have been booked and have been summoned by a Perumbavoor court.
According to reports, around 12 people, including activists advocate Maya Krishnan, have been accused on charges of deterring a public servant from his duty.
As per the summons notice issued by the court on March 15, 2019, the 12 people have been booked under Indian Penal Code Sections 332 (Voluntarily causing hurt to deter public servant from his duty) and 353 (Assault or criminal force to deter public servant from discharge of his duty), 143 (Unlawful assembly), 144 (Joining unlawful assembly armed with a deadly weapon), 147 (Punishment for rioting), 145 (Joining or continuing in unlawful assembly, knowing it has been commanded to disperse).
“After all these years, police has filed a case against us. It is clear that police are taking revenge because we protested against them,” Maya Krishnan told The Cue.
“While protesting in Perumabvoor, a few of us had suffered some injuries. Now they might have registered a case to make sure there is no action against them. Even the Chief Minister of Kerala had accepted that there was severe apathy on the part of the investigating officers. But no action was taken against the officers,” she added.
Maya posted the photo of the summons on social media on Friday. In the Facebook post, she also recounted the experience she had while asking about the status of the case just days after her death.
“She was the classmate of my junior in college. When I called the Kuruppampady police station with the details I got from her classmates, the cops told me to provide any leads in the case if I have any. The police also told that they were busy with the election duties. When she was alive, she and her mother had even given complaints to the police stating that their lives are under threat. If the news about her had not circulated on social media after five days of her death, the case would have gone unnoticed,” Maya wrote.
“Even after her death, the police continued the same apathy towards her. Because the one who had died was a woman living in a one-room house in a ‘Poramboke Land’. Within five days of her death itself, several issues like destruction of evidence was there in her case,” she says.
MN Giri, who has also been booked, took to Facebook too to post the order directing them to appear before Judicial First Class Magistrate Court in Perumbavoor.
“I had just bailed out those who jailed and had taken them to hospital. This is what I did. Is there anything wrong with that?” Giri wrote on Facebook.
She was killed on April 28, 2016. It was only after 49 days – June 16, 2016 – that the police made their biggest breakthrough in the case with the arrest of Ameerul. Before that, at least seven people were detained and one of the men who was initially accused took his own life in July 2017. The police had faced flak for lapses and initial apathy in the case. The case also went from one investigating officer to another.
Finally, it was in December 2017, nearly after 20 months, that Ameerul Islam was convicted for rape and murder by the Ernakulam Principal Sessions Court.