Kerala man found dead two days after wedding, bride’s parents under suspicion
The 21-year-old girl from an affluent Christian family had married a Dalit Christian from a humble background against the wishes of her family. He was abducted from Kottayam on Sunday and his body was found in neighbouring Kollam district on Monday.Updated: May 28, 2018 17:38 IST
Under fire after a newly-married man, who was abducted allegedly by his wife’s family members in Kottayam on Sunday, was found dead Monday morning in neighbouring Kollam district, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said a special investigation team will be constituted to probe the case.
Kevin P Joseph (23), a Dalit Christian from a humble background and Neenu Chacko (21), a Christian from an affluent family, had married against the wishes of the bride’s parents two days ago.
“It was an unfortunate incident. Police have some lead in the case and all accused will be arrested soon,” Vijayan said.
Police said they have identified 10 accused in the case including the brother of Neenu, Shanu Chacko. One of the accused was arrested and they recovered Kevin’s body after questioning him, police said. Kevin’s body had deep cuts and bruises.
The opposition Congress and BJP have called a day-long hartal in Kottayam district on Tuesday. “It is a brutal murder. His life should have been saved if the police acted swiftly. It is shame police personnel were deployed for the CM security,” said Congressman Ramesh Chennithala who is the leader of the opposition.
But Vijayan criticised the move to link the incident with his visit to Kottayam. “Usually the CM’s security will be handled by a special team not the local police. It is quite unfair to club laxity on the part of some police officials with my visit,” he said.
Neenu collapsed on hearing of the death of her husband and was admitted to the Kottayam Medical College hospital.
Kevin and Neenu met while pursuing studies in a college in Kottayam, said his friends. “They had registered their marriage on Friday in the sub-registrar’s office and they were summoned to the police station after Neenu’s parents filed a missing person case,” said friend of Kevin.
People familiar with the events said there were attempts at the police station to forcibly take the bride but she insisted that she was 21 and would like to live with Kevin. Both parties reportedly reached a compromise at the instance of police and Neenu was asked to stay in a nearby hostel and Kevin allowed to go with his relatives
On Sunday, Neenu had approached the Gandhi Nagar police station in Kottayam with a complaint that her husband was abducted and she suspected her brother’s involvement.
But policemen at the station reportedly told her that the Chief Minister was in the district and all officials were busy with his schedule and the case would be taken up only after he left the district. Later Sunday night, a sobbing Neenu told television channels that the police did not take up her complaint seriously citing lack of personnel due to the CM’s visit.
As the abduction and murder and the callousness of the police sent shockwaves and triggered anger among the public on Monday, the government transferred Kottayam superintendent of police Mohammad Rafiq and suspended the Gandhi Nagar police station sub-inspector M S Shibu.
Congress workers led by former Home Minister Thiruvanchur Radhakrishnan reached the Gandhi Nagar police station in the morning to stage a dharna.
The Kerala police had been under fire in recent days over complaints of excess and custodial torture. Ahead of the Kottayam SP’s transfer, an embarrassed state police chief, Loknath Behra, said he has sought a report from the officer and would take action against the officials for dereliction of duty.
The accused who came in two cars, kidnapped Kevin and his relative Anish from their house early Sunday. Kevin’s relative who was let off after being thrashed for two hours was the first to alert his parents and wife. The cars were recovered later in the night. Kevin’s body was found near a stream in Thenmala in Kollam district on Monday morning.