25 Jul 2020
Member of the Polit Bureau
Communist Party of India (Marxist)
We write to express our deep anguish and pain following the bail of Kuniyil Padmarajan, the RSS leader who raped a little ten-year-old girl in the Palathayi region of Kannur, Kerala. From the beginning, the Palathayi case is being investigated poorly or not at all, leaving many people feeling betrayed by a system they trusted. The police investigation, arrest and charge-sheet were painfully mishandled. We feel that the Kerala government and Police violated standards of impartiality, fairness, and serious attention to the facts of this case.
The parents of the Class 4 student of Palathayi school had lodged a complaint with the police on March 17, 2020. The medical examination report said she was subjected to the heinous crime of sexual abuse. The perpetrator who also the teacher of the victim exploited his position of trust as a teacher, called her to the school on a Saturday, which was a holiday, saying that a special NSS training session would be held and that she should attend it. When she reached the school, she was taken to the toilet and sexually abused. Padmarajan threatened to kill her if she revealed the incident to anyone. It is also equally, if not more, disturbing that Padmarajan brought the victim for his friend too. The little girl, an orphan and the absence of her paternal security fall her easy prey for the criminal.
The levels of cruelty, depravity and official collusion in the abuse of a little ten year old girl is unbelievable. The police have been instrumental in silencing the victim and shielding the RSS leader from the beginning. Outraged, staunch public protests forced his arrest.
The court granted bail to Padmarajan, after the Kerala Crime Branch, which is probing the case, submitted a chargesheet to the court without including charges under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act. The provisions in the current charge sheet that lead to his bail is of trivial nature. The co-accused still roam free and the criminals who shielded Padmarajan from arrest nowhere in the charge-sheets.
The medical report confirms the little girl was subjected to heinous crime of sexual abuse, her secret testimonies are recorded in front of magistrate, the classmate narrated the ordeal of victim to a Malayalam channel that the whole Kerala heard, Yet, the cries of our daughters, sisters, mothers remain unheard. It is in the literate progressive Kerala and this is happened in Kannur district, your party’s stronghold and in the own constituency of the Smt KK Shailaja Teacher, Minister for Women, Child Welfare and Social Affairs.
Rape and sexual violence have been under particular spotlight in India since the 2012 gang-rape and murder of a young woman on a bus in the capital, Delhi. That attack led to huge protests that and changes to the country’s rape laws, but there has been no sign of crimes against women and girls abating. Law remains in paper when the government and investigating agencies have vested interests.
We would like to remind you that in a country that has been criticized as lacking commitment to women’s rights, Kerala has been one Indian state which defied national trends, encouraged democratic voice and women’s empowerment. Historically your party in forefront of such movements. Now, there is no one in the entire set up to act for justice and help assuage the pain of that little broken soul.
The details of a child rape leave any normal person sickened and horrified. How anyone can rape a little kid is, to the average human being, beyond comprehension. When every act is committed to serve a vicious ideology, the Kathua to Palathayi is happening. This time the brutality is inflicted on a ten year old little girl. Whether CPI(M) and Police is colluded with this poisonous ideology is the question.
To keep our children safe, our communities need a ‘government’ in Kerala. We invite your moral, ethical and political duty to address the systemic failings of Kerala State.
National Confederation of Human Rights Organisations (NCHRO)