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Prayers unheeded, Sister Abhaya yet to get justice

Shyama Rajagopal &
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It has been 21 years since Sister Abhaya died, in strange circumstances in a convent, a place that was perhaps considered most safe.

Many investigating agencies — the State police, the Crime Branch, the CBI had all gathered or even said to have destroyed some vital evidence in the case that always seemed to hit a wall whenever there was some progress.

According to Jomon Puthenpurackal, human rights activist who had been fighting a legal battle, this is one case where the natural witnesses’ statements have never been recorded. The investigation teams had maintained all along that the witnesses were lying, he said. The long delay in proceedings has helped many people involved in the cases destroy evidence systematically, he said.

What happened in Delhi shook the country’s conscience. But what happened to Abhaya is of similar magnitude, but failed to mobilise the people in the same manner, said Mr. Puthenpurackal. All such cases need a strong follow-up.

A 16-year-old girl from West Bengal, waiting for justice at Mahila Mandir in Thiruvananthapuram, is another victim of the tardiness of the State’s justice delivery system. She had come to the State to look for her lover, but during her search fell prey to four men who took her on a lorry and raped her repeatedly. Four men were arrested two days after the girl was raped and a charge sheet was also filed promptly. But after 90 days without trial, the men were let off. More than a year after she was raped, she has been detained in the State, far away from her home and people. At the women’s home where she is kept, her trauma continues.

What happened in Delhi shook the country’s conscience. But what happened to Abhaya is of similar magnitude

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