Jisha rape, murder case: Ameerul Islam awarded death sentence

The Ernakulam Principal Sessions Court on Thursday awarded Ameerul Islam, 23, the death sentence for raping and murdering Jisha in Kerala in April last year. Islam, a migrant worker from Assam, had been convicted by the court on Tuesday. The incident had led to widespread protests, and triggered a debate on women’s safety in the southern state.

The court Tuesday had found Islam guilty under Sections 376 (rape), 302 (murder), 449 (trespassing into house) and 342 (wrongful confinement) of the IPC.

Jisha was raped and murdered at her residence in Kuruppampadi area on April 28, 2016. The 30-year-old Dalit law student, who was studying at Ernakulam’s Government Law College, was found with severe injuries, some inflicted even after she was killed, the police had found. Aside from public outrage, the incident had also rocked the Kerala legislative Assembly.

 Islam was arrested 49 days after incident. A Special Investigation Team, which had been set up to probe the case, had filed a 1,500-page chargesheet on September 17, 2016. The court completed hearing the case earlier this year, on December 6.

What is Jisha rape and murder case?

The Ernakulam Principal Session’s Court on Tuesday found accused Ameerul Islam, a migrant worker from Assam, guilty of rape and murder of 29-year-old Dalit girl Jisha in Kerala in April 2016. The brutal crime had sent shock waves not in only the southern state but the entire country.

It was around 8:30 pm on April 28, 2016, Jisha, a student of Ernakulam’s Government Law College, was found murdered at her home in Kuruppampadi area of Ernakulam. Her body was found by her mother. Jisha’s body was mutilated and her body parts, including the genitals, bore stab wounds.

As gory details of the torture that Jisha was subjected to emerged, there was massive outrage among Kerala’s citizens who took to streets in several places. Parallels were drawn with the brutal rape and murder case that took place on December 16, 2012. The case also rocked the Kerala legislative assembly.

Ammerul Islam was arrested a month-and-a-half later. Following a lengthy probe, the investigating team of officials submitted a 1,500-page chargesheet on September 17, 2016 naming Islam as lone accused.

The trial began earlier this year on April 4. In hearings that stretched through 85 days, 195 witnesses were presented by the prosecution as well as 290 pieces of documentary evidence and 36 pieces of material evidence, including DNA analysis report, were produced against Islam.

The prosecution presented strong forensic and scientific evidence against Islam. The defence had, meanwhile, petitioned that Islam was being framed citing a vigilance commission report saying 16 lapses in the probe of the rape and murder.

Prior to Islam’s arrest, the team had hit a series dead ends, detained seven men and  circulated sketches. Several changes were also made in teams probing the case. One of the men who was named in the initial stages of the probe, Sabu, 37, committed suicide this year in July. Another man whose sketch was circulated by the police saw his picture go viral on social media and almost lost his job.

The incident had occurred just before the Kerala Assembly elections in May last year and it became a major issue during the polls. The UDF government drew huge flak and after the LDF government came to power, a fresh probe was initiated.

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