Thiruvananthapuram : The LDF government, which assumed office in Kerala on Wednesday, decided to handover the probe into the brutal rape and murder of a 30-year old Dalit woman to a new team headed by a senior woman IPS officer, taking a serious view of alleged lapses in the investigation so far.

ADGP B Sandhya would head the team that would probe the case of rape and murder of the law student last month, which was in focus during the assembly polls campaign with political parties attacking the then UDF regime for tardy progress in the investigation and failure to nab the culprits.

 There were lapses from the time of preparing the ‘mahazar’ to the cremation of her body, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said briefing reporters on the decisions taken in his first cabinet meeting.

“Public opinion is that the present probe mechanism should change and a women police officer should investigate,” he said adding, “In view of that, the cabinet decided to appoint a new team headed by ADGP B Sandhya.”

The woman was murdered in her home on April 28. The accused are yet to be arrested.               The murder, which took place in Perumbavoor in Ernakulam district, had been a major campaign plank of the LDF in the run up to the May 16 assembly elections.        There was widespread dissatisfaction over the manner the investigation was handled with the culprits yet to be brought to book even after more than a month of the crime.

The government also decided to ensure that the victim’s mother would be given Rs 5,000 monthly pension so that she would not be forced to take up odd jobs for her living. The victim’s sister would be given a job immediately, Vijayan said.

The previous UDF government had decided to give the victim’s elder sister a job to enable the family to pull through. However, this has not yet been implemented. A house was being built for the family and it would be completed in 45 days time, Vijayan said.

The incident had drawn comparisons to the 2012 Delhi gangrape case that sparked widespread outrage and nationwide protests demanding an end to the growing incidents of sexual assault and abuse of women across the country.     —PTI

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