Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, who will be contesting the 2021 Assembly elections from Dharmadam in Kannur, has a new contender — the mother of the two minor sisters from Walayar in Palakkad, who were mysteriously found dead in their house in a span of less than three months in 2017. The mother of the Walayar sisters will be contesting in the election as a protest over the Kerala government's 'inaction' against those who had probed the case.
"I want justice for my daughters. I had met the Chief Minister at Thiruvananthapuram, cried and begged him to ensure that those responsible for the death of my children should be brought to book,” she said. “I will contest against Pinarayi Vijayan as an independent. Except for the Sangh Parivar, we will take the support of everyone," she announced when speaking to reporters in Thrissur.
The parents of the children had conducted a series of protests ever since the accused in the case were acquitted by the trial court in 2019.
Reacting to the development, CM Pinarayi Vijayan said, “Anybody can contest from a constituency. If it is regarding the specific issue, we do not have any guilt. We have stood by the mother at all times and all measures have been taken. It is as per their request that the investigation went to the CBI. At no point have we wished to hurt her. They are free to take any action."
In January 2021, the Kerala government had decided to hand over the case to CBI, shortly after the Kerala High Court ordered a retrial in the case.
Allowing appeals filed by the state government and the mother, on January 6 this year, the High Court had ordered a retrial, observing that there were "serious lapses" in the probe and that there has been "miscarriage of justice."
The court had also set aside an October 2019 order of a POCSO court, acquitting the five accused for want of evidence.
The Walayar sisters’ mother, who had tonsured her head over alleged government inaction against the two police officers who had investigated the case, is on a "Neethi Yatra" (journey for justice) from Kasaragod to Thiruvananthapuram, demanding action against them. Her campaign will end on April 4, just two days before Kerala goes to the polls.
While the BJP has fielded former state president CK Padmanabhan, the Congress-led United Democratic Front (UDF) is yet to announce its candidate. The Chief Minister, who is seeking a re-election from Dharmadam, had filed his nomination on Monday.
Meanwhile, Kerala Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC) president Mullapally Ramachandran said if the mother has decided to contest at Dharmadam, that is the right decision. Asked if the Congress would support her candidature, he said, “We have to discuss that with the UDF parties and take a decision."
On January 13, 2017, the elder sister aged 13 was found hanging inside their shed in Walayar in the Palakkad district. Less than two months later, on March 4 the same year, her nine-year-old sister, too, was found dead in the same manner.
The acquittal of the five accused had led to a public outcry and state-wide protests, demanding justice to the family of the girls.
(With input from PTI)