Catholics have joined activists in Kerala in seeking justice for two young Dalit sisters who were raped and murdered three years ago.
The protest walks and fasts saw 4,000 people urging Kerala’s government to reinvestigate the deaths of the girls near Valavar in south India.
The body of one girl, aged 13, was found hanging inside her house on January 13, 2017 while her sister, aged nine, was also discovered hung in the same room on March 4, 2017. A police probe concluded that the sisters were raped and murdered, and four suspects were arrested.
However, a court acquitted and cleared all four of them in October 2019.
Activists, which include Catholic priests and nuns, though say that police officials have “sabotaged” and covered up the case because of the criminals’ political connections.
“Police have erred in the investigation,” claimed nun Rose Anto. “Caste and financial backwardness have contributed to denying justice to two minor girls.
“Except for the government and its officials, everyone knew how the sisters were sexually exploited and killed.” Sister Anto, a former member of the Holy Family congregation, said media reports suggest that the accused were linked to the ruling Communist Party in Kerala. All the suspects are known to the family of the victims. Two of them are the girls’ close relatives. Police booked the suspects on charges of abetment to suicide and rape. However, no murder charges were made against them.
“This is a case that proves might is right in present-day Kerala,” she said.