Amiyur Islam, a Bengali-speaking migrant labourer with an Assamese address, was arrested three days ago in Palghat.
The body of the girl, Jisha, was found on April 28. Her injuries totalled 38, including some very deep bites that penetrated the flesh considerably. Both her shoulders were broken. A rod was used to penetrate her reproductive organ with such force that her intestines were spilled out, drawing parallel’s to the disturbingly similar Nirbhaya rape case that happened in Delhi.
According to sources, Islam killed the girl after she rejected his advances and brutally raped the dead body. The 23-year-old was also involved in sexual offences of a violent nature in Assam, according to media reports.
After the murder and rape, Islam left Kerala for Assam. After the new government took over, the police initiated a massive manhunt for the criminal, and conducted extensive interviews among immigrant labourers in Kochi.
They also extracted DNA from hair found on the deadbody, which apparently matched with that of Islam.
The police will hold a press conference at noon to confirm the arrest.
It is also reported that Islam was known to the victim.
The case was noted not only for the absolute brutality of the act but also for the mess that the police made of the investigation.
Coming just ahead of the Kerala state assembly elections, the case had become a big talking point.
The police officers in charge of the initial investigation were castigated for the callous manner in which evidence was allowed to be destroyed.
The new Left Front government had disbanded the earlier investigation team and created a new team under B Sandhya, Assistant Director General of Police.
The case is likely to shine a light on the risky conditions in which Kerala’s vulnerable sections, particularly Dalits, live.
Perumbavoor, located close to Kochi — the hub of Kerala’s economic activity — is home to thousands of Bengali-speaking labourers from Assam and surrounding areas.
According to the New Indian Express, the Kerala Police have registered 323 incidents of crimes involving migrant labourers in the last five years.
In the Ernakulam Rural police station limits — of which Perumbavoor forms a part — there have been 38 murders in the last five years. Out of these, at least 32 are directly or indirectly linked to migrant labourers, the New Indian Express said.
The involvement of the migrant laborer has already triggered calls for tighter monitoring of workers from North Eastern states.
Over the last five years, tens of thousands of Bengali-speaking workers from Assam have moved in to Kerala, lured by its high wages.
A labourer working in the construction industry in Kerala earns about Rs 850 per day.
However, due to the high cost of living in the state, these labourers usually stay away from their wives and family, which is considered to be a factor behind the higher crime incidence.
Congress leader Ramesh Chennithala claimed credit for the breakthrough. Speaking to the media, he attacked the critics who accused the first investigation team of fumbling the initial investigation.