Thiruvananthapuram: Two men were detained on Tuesday for the brutal rape-murder of a 29-year-old Dalit law student in a small town near Kerala’s Kochi last week, a crime that drew comparisons with the Delhi 2012 gangrape.
Police said one of the detained suspects is a neighbour of the woman who was found in a pool of blood by her mother when she returned home from work on April 28.
The autopsy revealed she was brutally raped and murdered with sharp-edged weapons. Her intestines were ripped out in the attack. The body bore multiple cut wounds.
The traumatised mother is bed-ridden in a hospital. “We had complained to police about the danger to our lives. The tragedy could have been averted had they taken timely action,” she said.
It could not be ascertained what dangers the family faced and if the suspects in police custody are the real culprits. Police refused to reveal details of their investigation.
“We hope a clear picture will emerge after questioning them,” Kochi range IG Mahipal Yadav said.
The heinous crime at Perumbavoor in Ernakulam district has shaken poll-bound state.
“Kerala is shocked by the brutal murder of a young woman. The culprits will be brought to book and the severest punishment will be ensured to them,” chief minister Oommen Chandy said in Kannur, northern Kerala.
Opposition Left Front workers blocked home minister Ramesh Chennithala’s convoy when he reached the Perumbavur hospital to meet the woman’s mother on Tuesday. They shouted slogans against the Congress-led government for rising crimes against women.
The CPI(M) accused the government of inaction. “Police have failed to get any leads about the culprits even five days after the incident,” party state secretary Kodiyeri Balakrishnan said.
But home minister Chennithala, who went to the victim’s home as well, dismissed the charge. He said police were conducting a “scientific” probe and a manhunt was on to nab the assailants.
Women’s rights groups and students took to the streets, demanding justice. People started a campaign on social media to put pressure on the state authorities.
Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal tweeted: “One feels sick. Give exemplary punishment to guilty. But we all need to work together to prevent such incidents.”
Many campaigners blamed the authorities for neglecting the case because of the assembly elections, due in two weeks.
The spontaneous and concerted campaign bore a resemblance to a similar movement after a paramedical student was raped and murdered on a moving bus in Delhi on December 16, 2012. That incident forced the Centre to fortify laws against rape with harsher punishment.