The Congress-led UDF on Thursday, 28 October, walked out of the Kerala Assembly, citing an upsurge in the number of crimes against women and children, including the rape of a minor Dalit girl in Kuttiady.
Roji M John, a Congress MLA, moved the notice of adjournment motion, alleging that crimes against women and children were on the rise in the state. He cited many recent sexual assault instances against women and requested that the House address the matter. In response to the notice, Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, who is also the state's Home Minister, stated that the police have taken strong action in all of the incidences highlighted by the opposition.
"Steps have been taken to arrest all the accused. In the Kuttiady case, the police registered under relevant sections of the Indian Penal Code, POCSO Act and Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes Prevention of Torture Act, a case was registered and all the four accused were arrested on September 20 and legal action has been taken. The government has taken steps to arrest the accused on the basis of further statements received from the girl," he mentioned.
Chief Minister noted while providing details of police action on the matter, "In the Malappuram incident, a case has been registered for attempting to sexually assault a girl from Kottukara in Malappuram district. The accused has been taken into custody and produced before the Juvenile Justice Board. In Kozhikode, a mentally-challenged woman was sexually assaulted. The case was registered and the accused have been arrested and legal action has been initiated."
According to Vijayan, who provided details on other incidents, the number of sexual assaults and related crimes is decreasing between 2016 and 2021. "While 15,114 cases of violence against women were registered in 2016, the number dropped to 12,659 in 2020."
He further added, "The number of rape cases dropped from 2,003 in 2017 to 1,880 in 2020. Other torture cases dropped from 4,413 in 2017 to 3,890 in 2020. The number of deaths due to dowry abuse dropped from 12 in 2017 to 6 in 2020," he noted.
In response to the government's stance on the state's rising crime rate, the Chief Minister stated, "Violence against women appears to be on the decline. However, the government is dissatisfied. The government's goal is to create a society in which no woman is oppressed or subjected to sexual abuse. As a result, the government is stepping in. The administration has launched a number of initiatives in this regard." As the Speaker refused to have a discussion based on the Chief Minister's response, Opposition Leader VD Satheesan declared a walkout from the Assembly.