Kerala HC upholds death sentence in Soumya murder case

A division bench of Kerala High Court on Tuesday upheld the death sentence served to the first accused in the case pertaining to raping and murdering a 23-year-old woman , who was subjected to brutal assault after being pushed out of a moving train in 2011.

Blaming the railways for its lapses in ensuring women passengers' security, the division bench directed that the ladies compartments should be shifted to the middle of the train. Besides, the court said armed women police constables should be posted in ladies compartments.

The murder of Soumya, an employee of a shopping mall in Kochi, had shocked the state as the incident exposed the insecurity of women passengers in ladies compartment in trains. A fast track court in Thrissur in 2012 had awarded death sentence to the first accused Govindachamy, 30, a habitual offender from Virudanagar in Tamil Nadu. Previously, he was convicted in eight cases in Tamil Nadu. Govindachamy had moved an appeal in the high court.

According to the prosecution case, Govindachamy molested the woman who was returning home in Palakkad by Kochi-Shornur passenger in the late evening after her duty in Kochi. Soumya was travelling in an almost abandoned ladies compartment in the train when the assailant pounced on her. 

While Soumya resisted the molestation attempt, the assailant pushed her out from the moving train. He also jumped after his prey fell from the train. Govindachamy then pulled her to a deserted area along the tracks and raped her brutally. She succumbed to injuries a few days later.

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