Probe in Kerala rape case being influenced: NCW panel
New Delhi, May 17: A panel of the National Commission for Women (NCW) that visited Kerala to investigate the alleged rape and murder of Dalit woman Jisha has said the police are functioning under "undue influence" and the probe may not be fair due to "electoral considerations".
The report also said that before the gruesome incident, the woman, her mother and sister were allegedly harassed by their neighbours but the police did not act despite repeated complaints.
The committee's report was read out by Union Women and Child Development Minister Maneka Gandhi at the Indian Women's Press Corps on Tuesday.
"They were told that they were going to be raped and murdered, but the police did not take any action," Gandhi alleged.
"The committee is of the view that as the state (Kerala) is going into elections, the administration and police is functioning under some undue influence and that there is a likelihood of the investigation not being conducted as rigorously as possible due to electoral considerations," the report said.
Election for the Kerala assembly was held on May 16, Monday.
The NCW report also said that the committee has expressed its concerns with Chief Election Commissioner in a letter on May 9.
A letter was also sent to Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh, expressing concern over the "state of law and order in Kerala during the crucial election period", the committee said.
The report said the victim and her family were "often harassed" by their neighbours. The victim's mother had accused one of their neighbours in this regard.
"The mother had reported about the suspected threat to the police authorities who did not bother to take any action on her complaint," the report said.
"The mother of the victim had on different occasions fought with the local panchayat leader's brother-in-law who belong to the Left Front," the report added.
It said the police did not inquire or interrogate the man in question "as he appeared to be resourceful and politically well connected person".
"This points the finger of suspicion towards the police," the report said.
The committee visited the crime spot and found that it had been "compromised". The postmortem and forensic tests of other evidences were not done properly either.
A women lawyers' forum alleged that the postmortem was conducted by a postgraduate medical student and the associate professor was careless about its supervision.
"It could be seen as a failure on part of the forensic experts," the panel said, adding that there was also no video recording of the postmortem.
Moreover, the DNA division of the forensic laboratory had been "lying idle" as it was under repair.
The inspection of the crime spot was done by postgraduate students, and a sniffer dog was pressed into service a week after the crime, the report said.
"Ignoring the seriousness of this heinous incidence of violence against the most vulnerable section of the society, i.e. Dalit women would not only be detrimental to the current law and order situation in the state, but may have an adverse consequence on the future safety of such vulnerable women," the report said.
On April 28, 27-year-old Jisha was found murdered in Perumbavoor in Ernakulam. Her mutilated body was found by her mother Rajeshwari. The brutality of the crime led to comparisons with the 2012 gang rape of a paramedical student in Delhi that shook the nation.