‘We live like we are dead’: Parents of Walayar girls stage protest near Secretariat

The family demanded action against erring police officers and sought reinvestigation in the case.
Parents of Walayar Girls protest in front of Kerala Secretariat
Parents of Walayar Girls protest in front of Kerala Secretariat
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“We die every day, we live like we are dead. But we have to live for our son right?” says the mother of the two minor girls of Walayar. She and her husband staged a satyagraha in front the Secretariat in Thiruvananthapuram on Friday. The girls were allegedly raped and murdered three years ago at a temporary shed in Walayar of Palakkad district in Kerala. While the elder daughter was 11, the other child was nine. The family had been living in the shed to build a new house. The elder daughter was found hanging on January 13, 2017. The younger one, who had testified seeing her sister’s killers, was found dead on March 4.

The parents of the girls have been protesting to get justice for their daughters. “Since the day our daughters died every day we live like we are dead, we don’t get the happiness we used while living in the shed,” the mother told TNM. The family completed the construction of the house two years ago. “Whenever I see children of their age wearing a nice dress I would think my daughters would be like this if they were alive. The shed is still there, we shifted to the new house two years ago,” she said.

Parents demanded that the investigating officer Sojan be removed and a reinvestigation of the case monitored by the High Court. “We want action to be taken against all officers who were part of the investigation,” the mother said. 

First Additional Sessions Judge (Special POCSO Court) had acquitted four persons who were accused of abetment to suicide and rape in October 2019.It has been alleged that there had been lapses since the beginning of the investigation that eventually led to the acquittal of the accused. Deputy Superintendent of Police MJ Sojan, the investigating officer in the case has been accused of laxity. However in a big blow for all those who demand justice for the sisters, Sojan was promoted as Superintendent of Police in June. The mother wrote to Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan expressing displeasure over the move.

“Sojan had told me that if I was ready for a compromise, he would help us to move on. I was shattered hearing that. It was in March after the death of my elder one. I was heartbroken hearing that. I attempted to take my own life when returning home but was stopped by my wife,” the father alleged.  

“Sojan also told me that other fathers (possibly in such cases) had gone in for a compromise. I replied that others might have, but I won’t as I raised my children working in rain and sunlight. He is the one who even spoke badly of my kids. We won’t step back unless we get justice,” he said.

The couple have a 13-year old son too. They travelled to Thiruvananthapuram by train from Palakkad to stage the protest. In an interview to Malayalam news portal The Cue two months ago, the mother had said that policemen had followed her when she recently travelled to Ernakulam. “The aunt of the first accused had said aloud that if my son were also to be eliminated like my daughters that would be a lesson for me. From that I realized that they (the accused) were responsible in the case of my daughters,” she alleged when asked if they face any threat for demanding justice.

In 2019 the mother had given a petition at the High Court challenging the Palakkad court's verdict. She had met the Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan with her husband to ask for a CBI inquiry into the case, prior to that. The CM had then promised all support for the family's petition for a retrial. He announced in the Assembly that the government would be one of the parties asking for reinvestigation.

The PK Haneefa Judicial Commission, appointed by the government, reported in April that there were lapses during the trial of the case.

In March, the Kerala High Court had ordered the arrest of the four acquitted accused persons in the case in a plea filed by the Kerala government and the mother of the girls. Three of the accused were re-arrested and presented before the POCSO court after which they were released on bail. The fourth was missing.


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