THOOTHUKUDI: While the Delhi gang-rape case that shocked the nation triggered angry reactions across the nation, the family members of a minor girl in Thoothukudi, who was raped and murdered just four days after the Delhi incident, had to fight for 22 months to get the trial underway. The trial began on Wednesday as the district did not have a Mahila Court (Women’s Court) judge for a long time.
The 13-year-old girl, from Kilakulam near Srivaikuntam in the district, was allegedly raped and murdered on December 20, 2012. She was abducted while returning from school. Her body was found dumped in an agricultural field near the railway line at Thathankulam.
The Seidhunganallur police initially filed a murder case and arrested Subbiah, a daily wage labourer from Paraikuttai near Maniyachi. Police found Subbaiah roaming in the village in a suspicious manner and recovered the tiffin box of the victim from him. A few days later, the case was altered into rape and murder case.
Relatives of the girl were made to knock on the doors of the district administration to set up a Mahila Court and appoint a public prosecutor to initiate the trial. Several women’s organisations had also supported the family of the victim.
Finally, 22 months after the incident, Paul Durai, the judge who was appointed in charge of the Mahila Court started the trial and examined 11 of the 28 witnesses — including the mother — in the case, on Wednesday. Public Prosecutor Chandrasekar said that all the 11 witnesses were examined in the court. The remaining witnesses would be called to depose in the coming days.
The case had come up for hearing before Judge Kamalavathi on August 7 but the hearing was adjourned to September 17 and 18. As local body polls are being held on Thursday, the next date would be fixed later.
Inspector Selvam, the investigating officer, said the prosecution has decided to dispense with five witnesses as their deposition may not be relevant to the case.