The report describes the physical condition of the victim
The certificate given by the gynaecologist at Government Taluk Hospital, Adimali, who was the first to examine the Suryanelli rape victim, could play a crucial role when the High Court considers the case afresh as directed by the Supreme Court.
Dr. V.K. Bhaskaran had examined the girl on February 28, 1996 at 2.30 p.m. on the request of the then Circle Inspector of Munnar. The certificate had remarks about the physical condition of the girl, said K.K. Joshua. Mr. Joshua was one of the members of the special team under the then DIG (crime) Siby Mathews.
“The certificate said she had multiple injuries on her body, especially private parts, and many wounds were ulcerated and infected. This ruled out the very idea of her giving consent for sexual acts,” said Mr. Joshua, who retired as Superintendent of Police, Vigilance and Anti-Corruption Bureau. “The report clearly said she had severe infections and that she complained of acute pain. Many parts of her body were oedematic (swelling due to abnormal accumulation of body fluids).” Mr. Joshua also recalled the statement of Manoj, the driver of the jeep in which the girl was taken from Kumily to Theni in Tamil Nadu, who was examined at the trial court.
“He had given a statement to the police that she groaned in pain when the vehicle was moving along a bumpy road and was asked to remain silent by the man (presumably the third accused S.S. Dharmarajan) who was with her.”
These pieces of evidence should answer the question raised by the High Court bench comprising Justice K.A Abdul Gafoor and Justice R. Basant in the judgment acquitting 35 persons in the case. The Court asked whether the girl “after returning to the fold of her parents on 26.2.96 attempted to wish away all consensual sexual intercourses between 16.1.96 and 26.2.96 by calling them rapes without her consent?”
Even while officers like Mr. Joshua remember the girl as someone who could be made submissive by threats, other investigating officers like K. Ittoop, former Superintendent of Crime Branch (Narcotic Wing), have said the victim was sexually deviant. However, no professional psychological analysis of the victim was done at any stage, it seems. “In all instances of rape and child sexual abuse, there will be entrapment and forced secrecy. The defence of the victim will be numbed and will soon be forced to keep this a secret. It is one reason for delayed disclosures in many child sex abuse cases. I do not think a professional psychiatric analysis of the victim was done in this case to rule out these elements,” said Dr. C.J. John, a clinical psychiatrist.
According to the information available, only Sharada Rajeev, daughter of G. Janaradhana Kurup, then Special Prosecutor, interviewed the girl. But she refused to talk about the incident.
“All I can say is that I talked to the girl when the investigating officer Siby Mathews was present and met her later at her residences at Suryanelli and Changanassery. But my statement or evidence was never considered during any stage of the investigation or the trial period,” said Prof. Rajeev, who has done studies in psychology and presented papers in the subject in many foreign universities.
Mr. Joshua said the medical report by Dr. Bhaskaran had been listed as one of the exhibits at the trial court and the High Court could examine it. He also countered the observation made by the High Court bench that the victim made no attempt to escape.
She had sought the help of another victim, who was lured on the promise of a chance to sing in a film and taken to Kanyakumari. The latter was taken back forcibly after she objected, while the Suryanelli victim was taken around. She had sought the help of two accused when they approached her at the Kumily guest house and they contacted the girl’s father, on her request, he said.
The girl was dumped at Muvattupuzha bus stand, and given Rs.100, after her condition worsened and the accused knew she could not be trafficked, Mr. Joshua said.