15 Sep 2021  |   06:38am IST

When a father who has lost his daughter decides to fight for justice, no police force can escape from doing its duty

Herald has stood by the father of Siddhi Naik for justice and maintained that concluding this death as “suicide” was fundamentally wrong for so many reasons; Today we stand vindicated
When a father who has lost his daughter decides to fight for justice, no police force can escape from doing its duty

When a three-member medical committee to revisit the medical findings post Siddhi Naik’s death, states that the police must investigate the “a manner of death”, a brutally unnatural death, one may add, of the Nachinola girl, there are two broad conclusions. 

The report states: The investigating officer should investigate the manner of death (i.e. whether it is suicidal, accidental or murder)

But look what the SP North Goa said on August 12, the day Siddhi’s body, with only her lower undergarment, was found with her lips swollen and blue. SP North Shobit Saxena said it was a “clear cut case of suicide”. 

a) Police calling it “suicide” and Forensics Dept not preserving viscera are both acts of sheer unprofessionalism

The report of the three-member committee, confirms what Herald has been reporting and analysing, including on Insight i.e. the conclusion of the police that it’s a case of suicide, and the failure of the GMC Forensics Department to preserve the viscera were both acts of sheer unprofessionalism.

Herald Insight had asked this in its August 27 Insight: The DGP should immediately take two steps without fail today: (1) Direct North Goa SP to register this as a murder case and investigate; (2) Ask the Forensics Dept to take an expert opinion of the autopsy findings to see if the homicide angle was ruled out by mistake.

Here is the link of that INSIGHT: 

https://www.heraldgoa.in/Insight/Siddhi-Naik-case-Will-the-Goa-Police-be-able-to-prevent-the-death-of-justice/179299 )

While the first point has still not been followed up, but could well head that way soon, if the police force honestly investigates this case now, it is the second point raised by Herald which was accepted which led to the formation of the three-member experts’ committee. Their findings have exposed that the police had acted in haste and came to the suicide conclusion.

The Forensics Department also has a lot to answer for

Those at the highest levels of the department had been very dismissive of any other angle to the case than suicide. In a conversation with Herald, one of the senior-most forensic experts said that his department did not see any difference in the cause of death in the police death report and the forensic observations and ruled out the murder angle.

But is it right that an unprofessional burial of the case should be allowed? Why did the political class not think fit to fight for justice for Goa’s daughter?

The political class comes out when a vote bank is affected. But why can’t it come out when a desperate father and a totally heartbroken mother are left alone? It is often seen that when there is an issue that affects a group or a community, whose votes could make a difference, politicians take to the streets and give deadlines. But here was a girl from a family with very modest means, a daughter of a motorcycle pilot. Perhaps fighting for justice for this father would not give big political returns. So, the system just let it pass as any other death. But the father, the youth, citizen’s groups and your paper did not leave his side even once.

Father’s September 3rd murder complaint finally turned the tables towards justice

In his complaint on September 3 the father said, “The post mortem revealed that Siddhi’s stomach was empty which means that there was no presence of water in her. However, sand particles were found beyond the vocal cord, which indicate that Siddhi was not drowned in deep-sea waters or else she would have gulped down the water as she did not know to swim”.

He then concluded his complaint by saying, “I have lodged a complaint that unknown person/s has/have murdered my daughter, Miss Siddhi Naik, by forcibly drowning her in shallow beach sea waters by means of holding her in such a position to cover her mouth and nose till she died of drowning.”

Based on the father’s complaint, the three-member experts committee has clearly told the police to reopen the investigations…

BUT… now it does not have the victim’s viscera which the Forensics team kept in the body, which was cremated, instead of in the jar preserved for further investigation.

Here are questions we just all ask:

- Will Goa’s innocent daughters and their fathers have to suffer and die like this which an insensitive system just watches?

- The Courts, brave activists and the media like Herald will do its best to force the system to deliver, but who will make the system more sensitive?

- Will a refreshingly different political force emerge in Goa which makes the police system totally professional by making it autonomous and free from politician interference, especially its power over transfers of police personnel?

The Goa Police has to follow the path mentioned by the experts’ committee and reopen the entire investigation, before jumping to any conclusions. It should examine all angles, especially the homicidal one, keep egos aside and own up to past mistakes and do a better job this time.

Remember a brave father and a grief-stricken mother are waiting for Justice

And Herald will be watching.