Kerala man acquitted in rape and murder of a child, her family breaks down in court

Upon hearing the verdict, the child's mother and grandmother broke down in court, repeating that the acquitted Arjun is not innocent.
Police with Arjun at the court premises
Police with Arjun at the court premises
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A special fast-track POCSO court in Kerala’s Kattapana on Thursday, December 14, acquitted the lone accused in the rape and murder of a minor girl in his neighbourhood. The six-year-old girl was murdered on June 30, 2021, following a brutal sexual assault. The prosecution produced 48 witnesses, and over 69 documents were examined. However, Judge V Manju acquitted the accused Arjun. The court merely said that the accused was acquitted, without saying anything more. 

The deceased child lived with her parents, who are both labourers in Idukki district. On the day of her death, she was alone at home while her parents went to work early in the morning at a plantation in Churakkulam. Her elder brother, who reached home at 3 pm, discovered her body. Later, the police arrived and sent the body for post-mortem to the Idukki Medical College, after which it was confirmed that the child was sexually assaulted before being strangulated. 

Arjun was 21 years old then, a local Democratic Youth Federation of India (DYFI) leader, and he was arrested by the police on July 6, 2021.

Advocate Adityan, who appeared for the accused, alleged before the media after the judgement that the Kerala police cooked up incriminating evidence against his client. “What evidence did the police have? That he was a DYFI worker? Was that the evidence? This was the police's main catchword. They had no scientific evidence either. Where is the real culprit? We are asking for a re-investigation,” he said. Adityan further claimed that Arjun was from an economically backward family and that the crime was fixed on him by planting fake witnesses. 

It is to be noted that when news of the child’s death broke out in 2021, it was reported that the child’s autopsy confirmed sexual assault and that the hair strand found on her body belonged to Arjun. It was also reported that in his initial statement, Arjun said that he had last seen the deceased child two days before her death, while the deposition of the child’s relative revealed that he was cutting up a jackfruit for the children in the vicinity, on the day of the incident, when the child was also present.

Upon hearing the verdict, the child's mother and grandmother broke down in court, repeating that Arjun is not innocent. “We won't leave him alone. I had a baby after 14 years of marriage. He paid lakhs to get acquitted and the system played us. My husband will somehow go to jail and kill him,” the child’s desperate mother said. She further said that it is a reality that her child has died, but it is unacceptable that she died without justice.

The child’s grandmother, who was also in a state of agony, said that the verdict was unacceptable. “She was watching TV. She was killed in the puja room. I had left home that day after giving food to my child. They had a baby after waiting for so many years, you all have children right? Would you agree with this?” she asked.

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