KOCHI: For the residents of Vattolipadi, the one-room house of Jisha was virtually non-existent. Politicians did not canvass there for votes, the residents’association office-bearers never tried to get the family to join in and if the words of the residents were to be believed, nobody even cast a look in the direction of the house.
Was it a case of a Dalit family being ostracised by the majority upper caste residents? The local residents, though, deny that there was hardly any discrimination shown towards Jisha’s kin.
“We never discriminate against anybody. There are several Dalit families in our locality and we have a good rapport with them,” says Manu, a resident.
According to the locals, they had finally decided to present their version of the facts in order to counter the campaign of half-truths that had been doing the rounds in the aftermath of Jisha’s horrific rape-murder.
“We have decided to meet the media because a lot of false things have been said about us and those who have been shown on TV channels as natives of the region do not belong here.
“We wish to clear the air about the reports that the residents of the region have been mistreating Jisha’s family and that we are not cooperating with the police probe,” said Baby Embassery, a neighbour.
“The family of Jisha had settled down in the area nearly 18 years ago, when Rajeshwari was still with her husband Babu (Pappu).
“Earlier, they came to our houses to fetch water and later stopped doing that. Now, the family fetches water from a public tap located some 100 m away,” he added.
The locals also revealed that Jisha’s mother Rajeshwari never entertained anyone speaking to her or the two girls.
“May be the insecurities of an all-female household prompted her to do that,” says another neighbour.