Thiruvananthapuram

Varkala incident: a case of date rape?

The sexual assault on a 19-year-old nursing student at Varkala on Tuesday was a typical case of date rape, according to the police.

The incident, which followed hard on the heels of the rape-murder of a law student at her home in Perambavoor on April 28, has triggered a sense of moral outrage in society and raised serious questions about the safety of women in public places and at home.

Inspector General of Police Manoj Abraham told The Hindu that the victim was well acquainted with one of the three suspects and they had met in several social situations, including at cinemas.

The girl had arrived at the behest of the prime suspect at the Varkala railway station in the morning. He drove her in an autorickshaw to Kollam where they planned to view a film. They dropped the plan and spent the day visiting tourist spots and restaurants.

Investigators said the trouble started when two friends of the prime suspect joined the couple on their way back to Varkala. The police case was that the youths gang-raped the girl in the autorickshaw in a deserted compound near Varkala.

The crime came to light when passersby got alerted to the cries of the girl who developed an epileptic fit. The youth panicked and fled the spot, abandoning the victim and the vehicle. The police reached the spot around 6 p.m. and rushed the girl to a local hospital. They secured the crime scene and identified eyewitnesses.

Case against 3 youths

The clothes worn by the victim would be sent for forensic examination to collect evidence (semen, blood, hair or skin) to help prosecutors link the crime to the suspects.

The Varkala police have registered a case of rape (Crime 838/2016) and named three local youths, all in the 20 age group, as accused. They were Safir, Shiju and Rashid.

A judicial magistrate recorded the statement of the victim at SAT Hospital, where she was under intensive care. The student hails from a working class family in the capital.

Her plight had set off of public protests in the capital. The Opposition made it an election issue and pilloried the government “for doing little to ensure the safety of women”.

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Printable version | Feb 26, 2021 12:11:18 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Thiruvananthapuram/varkala-incident-a-case-of-date-rape/article8558838.ece

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