Kerala Student’s Rape, Murder: Migrant Labourer Arrested


Thiruvananthapuram: A migrant labourer from Assam, Amir-Ul-Islam, has been arrested for the horrific rape, mutilation and murder of a 30-year-old Dalit law student from Kerala’s Ernakulam, which took place nearly two months ago.

Police said the man was living and working in the area around the home of the woman, whose killing had been described as a “blind murder” by new police chief Loknath Behara. The man, the police said, had fled the neighbourhood on the night of the crime. They zeroed in on him after tracking him from Tamil Nadu and he had been in custody for long till the police matched up the evidence. Sources said the police matched DNA samples from site of crime and the student’s bite marks with the suspect.

The student was raped and murdered on April 28. Her body was found with wounds and bite marks, her intestines hanging out. The investigation thereafter was littered with mistakes. For days, the house was not blocked off as a crime scene. Forensic experts were summoned late. Two sketches released by the police based on neighbours’ descriptions, were vastly different.

After the Left-led government of Pinarayi Vijayan came to power, a team of 100 police personnel were formed and a senior woman IPS officer was appointed as its head to crack the case. “Everything from the postmortem to cremation was wrong,” Mr Vjiayan had said the day he took over as the Chief Minister. “That’s why a new team is being formed to investigate.”

In the process, 1,500 people had been questioned, 5000 people’s fingerprints were taken and 20 lakh phone calls were traced. Activists argued that the victim’s simple background – she lived in a one-room home without a toilet with her mother and sister – has dissuaded the wider anger and attention that the crime should have commanded. Political parties suggested the police had initially tried to protect the earlier UDF government by claiming the student had not been raped.

The new police chief, Loknath Behera, who visited the student’s home in Perumbavoor, had described the killing as a “blind murder”, suggesting there were no big leads.