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India police detain key suspect over student’s rape, murder

Agence France-Presse
India police detain key suspect over student’s rape, murder
The suspect is a 23-year-old laborer reportedly from India's remote northeastern state of Assam

NEW DELHI, India – Indian police have detained the main suspect in the brutal rape and murder of a student in Kerala, the state’s top official said Thursday, June 16, after authorities were accused of mishandling the case.

Police have said the attack on the 30-year-old law student from the lowest Dalit caste in April was so vicious she was found lying dead in a pool of blood, her intestines hanging out.

Protesters have held rallies in Kerala demanding justice for the victim, whose case echoed the gang-rape of a Delhi woman in 2012 that sparked mass street demonstrations.

Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said investigators had tracked down and detained a 23-year-old laborer reportedly from India’s remote northeastern state of Assam.

“Investigation team has received full information about the accused. From yesterday onwards, the accused was under police radar,” Vijayan was quoted by the Press Trust of India news agency as saying.

Local media reports cited unnamed police sources as saying that the suspect, Amir Ul Islam, was expected to be formally arrested later in the day.

Federal Women and Children’s Minister Maneka Gandhi last month accused police of bungling the investigation, saying an independent probe had found glaring missteps by police and forensic experts.

Gandhi made the comments ahead of elections in Kerala where her Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which rules at the national level, failed to win power.

Police had detained 3 other suspects for questioning early May but none was formally arrested.

The attack drew comparisons with the fatal gang-rape of a student in 2012, which shone a global spotlight on frightening levels of sexual violence against women.

It led to an overhaul of India’s rape laws, including the speeding up of trials and tougher penalties for offenders, but high numbers of assaults persist.

The most recent official figures show that 36,735 rapes were reported across the country in 2014, although activists say the true number is likely much higher, with many crimes going unreported due to the social stigma they attract. –

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