The Suryanelli rape victim tells her story

Shaju Philip in The Indian Express:

In 1994-95, she came to Suryanelli in Munnar, a hill station in Idukki, to live with her family—her mother worked as a nurse with a plantation company and her father worked as the postmaster. Until then, she had studied at a residential school in Kottayam district and now, she joined class 8 in an English-medium residential school in Munnar. She would take a bus, the same bus, from the family’s tea estate quarters to school and back. It was a beautiful ride through sloping tea plantations and mist-covered hills. It was during these rides that she befriended Raju, the conductor.

 According to her statement to the police, Raju met her at her school on January 12, 1996. He wanted her to come with him on a trip and when she refused, he allegedly blackmailed her with a family photo album of hers. “I had given the album to my classmate Fathima. The day Fathima got the album back, I was not in the bus. Raju took it from Fathima, promising her that he would hand it over to me,” she says. “Raju also asked me to bring along some clothes and money for the trip. When I refused, he threatened to humiliate my family using the photos in the album. I had no choice but to go along with him.” Four days later, on January 16, she left with Raju on that trip.

Over the next 40 days, from January 16 to February 21, she was taken to Kumali (Idukki), Palakkad, Kozhikode, Aluva, Muvattupuzha and Kottayam in the state, and Theni, Kambam and Kanyakumari in Tamil Nadu, where she was raped by different men. The police believe that during this period, she covered around 4,000 km with her tormentors, who took her from one hotel to another, city to city, and forced her to have sex with strangers. On two occasions, she was raped allegedly by two men simultaneously. Though her condition worsened and she had serious injuries in her vagina, her attackers reportedly pumped her with pills and liquor to keep her sedated. More

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