She is not a Dalit; she’s your sister or daughter who was butchered in the safety of her home.

She was found in a pool of blood — raped, her body had received around 20 cuts and her private parts had been slashed open with a large weapon, exposing her intestines and other abdominal organs. To ensure she wouldn’t live, the murderers smothered and strangled her using a piece of her own clothing till her last breath. There were also marks on the back of her head from blows she had suffered, and deep cuts on her chin, chest and neck.

Representational image. Getty Images

Representational image. Getty Images

The murder, that the police assumes happened at around 5 pm on 28 April, was first discovered by the victim’s mother, who came home at around 8.30 pm.

A 30-year old law student, lived in that one-room house in Perumbavoor , Kerala, on the roadside with her mother after her father left the family years before. She was a student at Ernakulam Law college and had three papers left to clear. For five days after the incident, no local media outlet reported the incident and no police case was registered.

The local media instantly drew parallels with the Delhi gang-rape of 2012 while others highlighted her identity as a Dalit — all this emerged five days after the incident when the postmortem report had been released. It should be noted here that most TV channels and newspapers highlighted this as the crime against a Dalit woman, for its obvious instant news value.

The fact is that it’s not a Dalit issue and it shouldn’t be.

She was someone’s daughter and sister who was butchered in the supposed safety of her own home. This case is actually much more heinous than the one in Delhi in 2012. While the Nirbhaya gang-rape took place in a moving bus in the middle of the night, the law student was murdered in broad daylight in the perceived safety of her home.

It is totally absurd to portray what happened to the 30-year-old as an act of excess against Dalits or members of any other caste. On the contrary, it’s an act that exposes the myth of the safety of any woman in her house and indicts an inert society that failed to notice the gruesome murder of a girl in broad daylight. Or did they simply ignore the whole incident and let her meet her fate?

Even on the sixth day since the incident, the state police hasn’t arrested the culprits.

But that hasn’t stopped the local politicians preparing for the Assembly election later this month from attempting to gain some mileage. Malayalam Manorama reports that the CPM has latched onto the murder to accuse the Congress-led UDF government in the state of  ‘inaction’ in attempting to track down the guilty parties.

No one in ‘God’s own country’ consider this gruesome murder reason enough to go out into the streets and mobilise protests to demand justice for the victim. To the state that boasts of 100 percent literacy, she is a reminder of the rot that runs deeper in this society. Had it been one of the country’s metropolitan cities, the murder case would have certainly got more attention and prompter action.

The big question here, perhaps, is that if a woman is not safe at her home and can be murdered in such a manner in broad daylight, what assurance the state can offer to its citizens for law and order? What is the guarantee that similar incident wouldn’t repeat in another town?

There aren’t any easy answers.

Original post: 

Kerala’s Nirbhaya: More gory, more scary than Delhi 16 December 2012