Mishel Shaji was all of 18 years old, and committed to becoming a Chartered Accountant. On March 6, however that dream ended in tragedy, when Mishel was found dead in the backwaters near Kochi Wharf. Her mysterious death has raised a storm, as her family refuse to believe the police version of her death being suicide.
Mishel, a resident of Elanji in Ernakulam district, was living in a hostel in Kacheripady, so that she could attend coaching classes for the qualifying exam for Chartered Accountancy in Palarivattom. Although Mishel normally went home on the weekends, last weekend she had stayed behind in the hostel because her exams were coming up, according to her father Shaji.
The last time Mishel was seen alive, it was at the St Antony’s shrine in Kaloor on March 5. The next day, her body was found in the waters near Kochi Wharf.
The police believe that Mishel committed suicide. “As per the post-mortem results she was drowned. No wounds or any other suspicious marks were found on her body. So according to us it was a suicide,” Ernakulam Central Inspector, Ananthalal, told The News Minute.
He added that during investigation the police had found that Mishel was depressed because a man she knew was frequently calling her and compelling her to enter into a relationship with him. “She was not interested in the relationship, and had many times told her friends about this. This could be the reason (for her to kill herself), but we are inquiring into whether she had some other issues,” Ananthala said.
Ananthalal said that the police have already contacted the man who had been calling Mishel, and had asked him to surrender within two days, as he currently resides outside Kerala.
Mishel’s family, however, is unconvinced by this explanation. Shaji, her father, describes Mishel as a strong and smart woman, and says he cannot believe she would kill herself. “Clearing the CA examinations was her only aim. Whenever she spoke to me, she shared her dreams about her career. She was good at studies also. She was a strong girl, I know that,” Shaji told The News Minute.
He also alleged that Mishel’s body did not seem to bear the marks of death by drowning. “Her body did not look like she had drowned,” he claimed.
What has roused the suspicion of Mishel’s family is CCTV footage from near the St Antony’s shrine, which is the last record of Mishel alive. Crucially, the footage that shows her leaving the shrine, also shows two men on a motorbike, who Mishel’s family believe may have been following her and may have caused her death.
“The two-wheeler that was found in the visuals, they (the two men) were standing near the church and looking around. And just as Mishel passed by, they began moving. We suspect that they were following her,” Shaji said.
The father has also petitioned Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan asking him to not allow the police to close the case terming it suicide.
However, the police claim that there is no evidence to indicate that the two men were following her. And despite the family’s demands for a fuller probe, the police insist that the investigations were conducted properly and there has been no foul play.
This has not prevented anger online and in Piravam municipality, however. A lot of anger has emerged on social media, with many claiming that the police is not acting strongly enough. In Piravam, an all-party meeting has been called on Sunday to launch a protest against police action in the case.
Many celebrities too have come out asking the police to investigate the case.