Dr P Rema, who was earlier head of the forensic department at the Thiruvananthapuram Medical College, died on Friday, April 1, aged 61. Her findings in several prominent cases including Sr Abhaya's murder had proved vital at the time of the investigation. Dr Rema had reportedly been suffering from Parkinson's disease for the past few years. She was married to Malayalam actor Jagadish.
"The Marykutty case, Sr Abhaya case, Salim murder case in Varkala and so many others were dealt with by Rema. She had joined the Thiruvananthapuram Medical College in 1985 and worked for many years. She also had a stint in Alappuzha as a professor," says Dr Sasikala, who had taken over from Dr Rema as forensics head and is now principal of Alappuzha Medical College.
The Supreme Court had lauded Dr Rema's reports in the Kalluvathukkal hooch tragedy. However, the most noteworthy among the cases was the Abhaya murder case, in which a nun and two priests were the accused. Jomon Puthenpurackal, an activist who has been at the forefront of trying to bring justice in the case, posted on Facebook that Dr Rema's findings had proved crucial in the case.
"Dr Rema was the police surgeon at the Alappuzha Government Medical College when Sr Sephy (one of the accused) was arrested by the CBI and brought to the Medical College for examination. She did the virginity test on Sephy and disproved her claims, which became a turning point in the Abhaya case. In 2019, when the trial for the case began in the CBI court, the magistrate had gone to Dr Rema's house to take her statement as a prosecution witness. She was already too unwell to go to the court," Jomon wrote.
Dr Rema joined the forensics department in the 1980s when few women opted to work in the area. Dr Sulphi Noolu, of the Indian Medical Association, posted that Dr Rema never tried to shine under the fame of her husband but focussed solely on her job.
She leaves behind Jagadish and two daughters Dr Remya and Dr Soumya and their families.