Babysana case : Homicide or Suicide ?
So, everyone wants to know what really happened with Babysana Chanu ! It’s quite an interesting case and perhaps there may be more than what meets the eye. Babysana’s corpse was found by one of the students inside the hostel and the school authorities caught in a panic situation had called the police and local bodies first at the scene of the crime. The ill- fated parents who came to see their daughter was not allowed inside by the police authorities and asked to wait for the Forensic team, media persons present at the site were not allowed in either. This manner however adhering to police crime scene norms could not be digested by the parents and sections of the public.
Manipur policing patterns hardly fall within the “The crime scene, do not cross” and red tapes are not printed in Manipur neither used. Local scene, anyone will bring down the person who commits suicide by hanging as in a bid to save the person. Well, lets say that the circumstances were not perfect and the public has a trust deficit for police investigations.
But again, who is the proper authority to say that she was murdered or not, whether it was suicide or homicide ? Is it the civil organisations, meira paibis, the JAC ? The onus is still on state police –handing the case over to CBI could be seen as a weakness for the state police and the CBI could always refuse to accept it. Police are empowered to carry out their investigation using whatever means possible within the legal framework to find out what actually happened. The police take help of the medical / forensic or the post mortem report findings to ascertain the cause of death. So, first report or the expert medical opinion says that Babysana cause of death was ‘due to asphyxiation caused by hanging’ and pointing to possible suicide. The crime scene on prima facie as observed by trained police officers found the natural tell-tale signs of hanging, neck slightly twisted, tongue sticking out, saliva drooping and urination. Hanging can be separated as total hanging and partial hanging and there is no compulsion that a suicide victim feet needing to be above ground and the hyoid bone needs to be broken. The double decker bed which is about 4 feet high is quite adequate to hang oneself and cases of people hanging from the bathroom window while sitting in the western toilet are there. So, height is not an issue and the plastic yellow rope was tough enough to cause suffocation, causing death and leaving behind ligature marks on the neck. The matter was communicated to the parents and the JAC by the Chief Minister himself in a meeting with the concerned investigating officers. But, the post mortem report was not accepted by the JAC saying that it may have been doctored to suit the ends of the school and the headmistress was also an influential woman. Sections also cry out in social media that everything is manipulated by the police after taking huge bribes, hence the trust deficit to the system.
Post mortem reports are rarely conducted twice but in Manipur such things happen owing to public pressure and indeed the heat was and is still on the police to find out and arrest the culprits. Thangmeiband MLA and spokesperson of Congress party, Kh Joykishan also coming out strong in this regard and charging the government of not conducting a fair investigation also added extra edge.
The police arrested two wardens in the investigation but the public remained un-satisfied, they want the headmistress and his son among others to be booked. They want punishment for homicide and not suicide. If the lawyer of the arrested persons argues in court saying that the post mortem points to suicide, then how does section 302 (murder) figure in all this, the case may not be solid to hold on for the public prosecutor. That remains to be seen in court. The second post mortem report also seems to point to the obvious first post mortem report findings. Well! If the post mortem reports points to suicide, then who is the abettor in this crime? What pushed babysana to take her own life ?
Another pertinent question is if indeed murder, what is the motive of the crime? What did Babysana do to get murdered? What did she know? What did she underwent mentally or physically? What would the authority of the school gain from her murder ? When the school is making an enormous amount of profit, would the authority jeopardise that status by murdering a child in the school hostel ? If Babysana was a liability, would not it be safe to send her away from the boarding on a pretext ? Obviously, the school would and is on the losing side now.
On the follow up investigation, the children were questioned by the police in adherence to child rights policy. Questioning a child cannot be conducted in uniform and the manner of questioning has to be child friendly so as not to traumatise the child. Another tough task and depending on the skill of the police officer, parents of the boarders of Standard Robarth state that their wards wake up at night and sleep with their mothers and it is most probable that the gruesome incident may be causing post trauma stress disorder. So, are we while fighting for justice of Babysana infringing on the rights of the other students?
Following arrest of the headmistress son, the JAC claimed and paid final respect to the remains of Babysana but still bent that the headmistress ought to be booked and the magistrate refused to entertain the plea for anticipatory bail further. Landhoni’s son, Phiroijam Robinson was arrested under section 75 of the juvenile justice act which states that – whoever, having the actual charge of, or control over, assaults, abandons, abuses, exposes or wilfully neglects the child causing unnecessary mental or physical suffering shall be publishable with imprisonment which may extend to three years with fine of 1 lakh rupees. Now it’s up to the judiciary now following the chargesheet of the police and what will happen next. If the JJ section 75 would be such a leveller for the cause of abetment to the crime, then it may be assumed that many school hostels housing children could be booked under this law with the manner hostels are being operated in the state.
Now, a viral video of the police coming to the grave of Babysana made the rounds and the locals allege if the police came to dig up the grave and consume the body of the child. Such wild allegations and hypothesizers are doing the rounds when probably the police might have come to collect sample of the parent rope which Babysana used and to verify if the rope matched. Its high time that the police try to find and tell the public if Babysana was harassed ? If she indeed used the same rope ? What was her mental status ? Did she miss her biological mother as written in her diary ? If she was affected by other factors when reaching puberty ? And who is the abettor? Let the investigation tell the facts and let justice be done to Babysana.
Leader writer: Paojel Chaoba
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