Assault on challenged woman shocks Kerala

Video of mentally challenged woman in Kochi being dragged along the ground and assaulted sparks debate over indifference of people

Kochi: Only three days after a crowd stood apathetically around a man who had fallen off the third floor of a building in Kerala’s commercial capital Kochi, an incident of a challenged woman being assaulted by neighbours in the city has triggered further indignation in the state.

On Tuesday, a video of a mentally challenged woman near Vypeen in Kochi being dragged along the ground and assaulted by a group of female neighbours went viral, sparking debate over the shocking indifference of people to those in deep distress.

The video showed a group of women assaulting the challenged victim with sticks. Several men are also visible in the visual, without any of them attempting to save the woman or stop the assailants. The victim’s teenaged daughter also suffered injuries in the assault.

“Has humanity died in our state?” Asked one commentator on social media, while another added, “Kerala is learning from Uttar Pradesh and Haryana”.

The victim stayed in a colony near Vypeen and the neighbours who assaulted her had apparently given complaints to the police about the trouble she created for neighbours, and demanded that she be taken for treatment.

After local television channels aired the video, police arrested three women identified as Liji Augustine, Teena Biju and Molly Sebastian. Senior police officials visited the site and said more arrests may follow if investigations show the involvement of more people.

In the incident on Saturday, when Saji K. Anto fell off the third floor of a lodge building where he was staying, those who were on the road where he lay sprawled on the ground and bleeding, stood by without making any effort to help the grievously injured man.

Minutes later, Ranjini R., a female advocate who happened to pass by, and her school-going daughter took the initiative to call up a local hospital for emergency treatment and also hail a car to take the injured man to hospital.

The state assembly on Tuesday commended the timely service rendered to the bleeding man by Ranjini. The victim is now recovering in a hospital in Kottayam.

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