Women activists from across the political spectrum on Friday welcomed the Thrissur Fast Track Court's verdict on the Soumya rape and murder case.

Mahila Congress State president Bindu Krishna expressed hope that capital punishment for Govindachamy, the accused in the case, would have a deterrent effect, dissuading criminals from harming women. “We, women, salute the judiciary, which has assured, with utmost concern for human values, that the rule of law prevails,” she said.

K.K. Shailaja, State president of the All India Democratic Women's Association, described the verdict as exemplary. “The investigation team and the special prosecutor did their best to find the truth and nail the accused. The verdict brings deep relief. If authorities want to pay tribute to Soumya, they should do it by improving the safety of her countless sisters who travel in buses and trains every day,” she added.

Sobha Surendran, State president of the BJP Mahila Morcha, demanded that Members of Parliament from the State exert pressure on the Union Home Minister to launch an investigation into the activities of a national gang of criminals in which Govindachamy was allegedly a member. “The defence lawyer's sources of wealth should also be investigated,” she said.

She observed that the Soumya case proved that the State police could carry out investigation efficiently if there was no political interference. “In its quest for justice, the concerns of the investigation team and the judiciary were in tune with the collective conscience of society,” she said.

Writer and social activist Sara Joseph said that maximum punishment for the accused was not surprising because the crime he committed was unspeakably cruel. “Justice will be fully achieved, however, only when authorities investigate the role of Dr. A. K. Unmesh of the forensic department of the Thrissur Government Medical College Hospital in the case and the support allegedly received by Govindachamy from a national gang of criminals. The current findings could only be the tip of the iceberg,” she stated.

RELATED NEWS

Soumya case: Death for convictNovember 11, 2011

At a glance: Soumya rape and murder caseNovember 11, 2011