Scores Throng Funeral of Kerala InfantKilled by Mother, Partner

The coffin with the little girl had a photograph pasted on it, of Jovana smiling, holding a teddy.

3 min read
Late two-year old Toddler, Jovana. 

As scores of people paid their respects to two-year-old Jovana at the Shantanpara Infant Jesus Church in Idukki on Tuesday, her brother Joyal sat there holding Jovana’s favourite teddy bear in his hands.

The coffin with the little girl had a photograph pasted on it, of Jovana smiling holding the same teddy. As her coffin was lowered into the ground, Joyal and his sister Jofita cried uncontrollably, clinging on to their uncle Jijosh.

It was on 7 November, that the Kerala police unearthed the half-burnt body of 32-year-old Rijosh Mullor from a pit at the Mushroom Hut farmhouse resort in Santhanpara, Idukki.

Two days later, on 9 November, the prime accused in the murder case, K Waseem, along with Rijosh’s wife, Liji, consumed poison. The couple had fled to Mumbai with Jovana, leaving behind Liji’s other two children.

In Mumbai, they also fed poison to Jovana, who would die on her way to the hospital the same day.

Her postmortem was conducted on Sunday and the body reached their home on Tuesday morning.

 Two-year-old Jovana’s brother holding her teddy bear at her funeral. 
Two-year-old Jovana’s brother holding her teddy bear at her funeral. 
(Photo: The News Minute

Waseem and Liji, who were allegedly having an extramarital affair, were in a critical condition. Shantanpara police station circle inspector, TR Pradeep Kumar, said that as of Tuesday, the duo were out of danger and have been shifted to a ward.

The police team from Kerala, who was sent to Mumbai to nab Wassem, collected the couple’s statement. The Panvel police had registered a case for the murder of Jovana and will be arresting the accused, he added.

Rijosh and Liji had been working at the Mushroom Hut farmhouse resort since 2018. Waseem had worked as a manager at the same resort.

While Rijosh oversaw the maintenance of the farm and its animals, Liji managed the housework. According to the police, Liji and Waseem were having an affair.

Rijosh went missing from the farm on 31 October and his relatives filed a missing person’s complaint on 1 November. But on 4 November, Liji’s relatives filed a complaint with the Santhanpara police when she and Jovana went missing as well. On the same day, police discovered that Waseem had also gone missing from the farm.

A week after Rijosh went missing, police found his body in a pit near the resort on 7 November.

The charred, decomposing body had only been partially buried. Investigations revealed that on 2 November, Waseem had directed the driver of an earthmover to cover up the pit. He allegedly told the driver that the body of a dead cow was in the pit.

Liji and Waseem. 
Liji and Waseem. 
(Photo: The News Minute

Waseem’s brother K Fahad Abdul was taken into custody for allegedly attempting to help his brother escape and also for attempting to mislead the police.

However, on 8 November, Waseem allegedly sent a video to the police claiming that his brother was innocent and that he alone had committed the crime. Police arrested Abdul on 9 November for his alleged involvement in the case.

Rijosh’s post-mortem revealed that the 31-year-old had been sedated and later strangled to death between 30 and 31 October. The accused had also allegedly attempted to burn his body.

Waseem and Liji were aware that a five-member special team from the Kerala police were hot on their trail. Police reportedly reached Mumbai at 2 pm on November 9, but the duo had attempted suicide three hours earlier.

On Monday, Jovana's uncle had written an emotional post on Facebook. "Smile at us when you reach heaven. Your uncle knows that your father is already there making arrangements for you. Anyway, he never used to leave you and go anywhere. You have gone to a world full of laughter and one without deception. They snatched you away from us too soon," he wrote.

(Published in an arrangement with The News Minute)

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