The sensational case of the rape and murder of a young woman train traveller in Kerala who was awaiting her marriage, took a dramatic turn on Thursday when India’s apex court sought clinching proof of the crime.
The case pertains to the death of Soumya (23), daughter of Ganesh, a resident of Manjakkad near Shoranur in Palakkad district in February 2011.
A lower court had convicted the accused, Govindachamy, a native of Tamil Nadu in the rape-murder case and handed him the death sentence. The prosecution’s claim was that Govindachamy entered the ladies’ compartment of the Shoranur-Kochi train in which Soumya was alone.
Govindachamy was accused of accosting Soumya, who fell off the train and was seriously injured. He is then accused of carrying the injured Soumya to a railway track nearby, raping her and making off with her mobile phone and purse.
When some passersby later found Soumya in an unconscious state, they took her to a hospital, where she succumbed to her injuries five days later.
The Supreme Court asked for clinching proof of the crime, pointing out that while it was clear she had been raped, it was not clear whether she had been pushed out of the train or jumped on her own. The post mortem report said head injuries had led to her death, adding further doubt about the circumstance that actually led to her death.
The court remarked that “guesswork” should not be brought before the court.
The prosecution, however, could not immediately provide a satisfactory answer to the court’s queries.
The court’s remarks came while considering a petition by Govindachamy demanding to annul the death sentence handed to him by the lower court.
The Soumya murder case had turned the limelight on safety of women during train travel, particularly in ladies’ compartments in which there are times when there are only one or a few women in a compartment.