Friday, September 23rd, 2016

Scarlett Keeling denied Justice

Shilpi Tandon | September 23, 2016 5:31 pm Print
Police initially had dismissed Keeling's death as an accidental drowning but opened a murder investigation after MacKeown pushed for a second autopsy which later proved that she had been drugged and raped
File Pix : Scarlett Keeling

 

“There is just so much hurt, disappointment, and oppression one can take… The line between reason and madness grows thinner” – Rosa Parks

Eight years… a long wait for justice… and, that too …. DENIED….!! That’s what happened to British Teen Scarlett Keeling rape case verdict today…!!

In February 2008, more than eight years ago, 15-year-old British teenager Scarlett Keeling’s body was found on Anjuna Beach in Goa. Samson D’Souza and Placido Carvalho were charged with culpable homicide not amounting to murder, using force with intent to outrage a woman’s modesty and of administering drugs with intent to harm.

“The culpable homicide charge is the most important charge because I believe that she was murdered,” Keeling’s mother Fiona MacKeown had told News Correspondents ahead of the verdict.

The teenager’s death had become international news, shining a spotlight on the sleazy side of the resort destination and also drawing attention to India’s lackluster justice system.

Police initially had dismissed Keeling’s death as an accidental drowning but opened a murder investigation after MacKeown pushed for a second autopsy which later proved that she had been drugged and raped. It showed that Keeling had suffered more than 50 injuries to her body.

The trial began in 2010 but has since been dogged by numerous delays, including hearings of just one afternoon a month due to a backlog of cases and a public prosecutor withdrawing from proceedings.

Over the years three public prosecutors and five judges were changed in the case. An eye witness, a British National, Michael Mannion, too failed to testify reportedly after a nervous breakdown.

Scarlett Keelings’s mother Fiona MacKeown was shocked by the verdict. She said, “I am devastated. The Indian Judicial system has totally let me down.”

Goa has lately been quite on headlines for such unpleasant news. Rapes, drug abuses have been making headlines not only in India, but in the International forum too. Around 3 years back, Tehelka founder Tarun Tejpal, was also accused of raping a junior colleague in Goa. This received intense public attention and media scrutiny especially because Tejpal and his magazine had previously been involved in highlighting the issue of sexual violence in India. Police in the state of Goa, where the incident took place, filed a First Information Report (FIR) which listed charges, including rape, against him.

A non-bailable warrant was issued against him by the Goa Police. He was arrested by Goa police on 30 November 2013.On 1 July 2014, Supreme Court granted him bail and asked him to submit his passport to the court. The victim still awaits justice….

 

Shilpi Tandon
Shilpi Tandon
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