Ten convicted for Dalit man’s murder
Kevin’s body was found on May 28 last year in a river in Chaliyakkara in Kollam district. Days earlier, he had married Neenu Chacko (21), a Christian from an affluent family, at a registrar’s office in Ettumanoor against the wishes of her family.Updated: Aug 23, 2019 02:18 IST
Ten people were on Thursday convicted by the Kottayam district sessions court in the murder of 23-year-old Dalit Christian, Kevin P Joseph, in 2018.
Kevin’s body was found on May 28 last year in a river in Chaliyakkara in Kollam district. Days earlier, he had married Neenu Chacko (21), a Christian from an affluent family, at a registrar’s office in Ettumanoor against the wishes of her family.
The court of judge C S Jayachandran found Neenu’s brother Sanu Chacko and nine others guilty but acquitted her father, Chacko, and three others citing lack of evidence.
All the 10 accused have been found guilty under various sections of the Indian Penal Code, including 302 (murder) and 364A (kidnapping for ransom),trespassing and other charges, special public prosecutor C S Ajayan told reporters. There were 14 accused in the case, of whom Sanu was the first accused.
The quantum of punishment will be announced on Saturday. The prosecution has sought maximum punishment to those convicted, saying they deserved no sympathy and that the cold-blooded murder had hurt the conscience of the state.
Kevin, who is from Kottayam, was kidnapped and murdered days after he married Neenu, according to the prosecution. He was an electrician while she was studying in a private college in Kottayam. They had been in a relationship for three years but Neenu’s family opposed it. They registered their marriage at the sub-registrar’s office but were summoned by police after Neenu’s parents filed a missing person’s complaint.
At the police station, her parents tried their best to convince Neenu but she stood her ground, the prosecution said. There were attempts to forcibly take her home but she insisted she was 21 and would like to live with Kevin. Both parties reportedly reached a compromise at the instance of police -- Neenu was asked to stay in a nearby hostel and Kevin asked to go to his relatives place, according to the chargesheet.
Sanu, who was working in West Asia, rushed to Kottayam after hearing of the marriage and hatched a conspiracy to eliminate Kevin, the prosecution said. A 12-member team lead by Sanu barged into the relative’s house where Kevin was staying, and kidnapped him and his relative, Anish. Anish was thrashed and let off. Anish alerted Kevin’s parents and wife. Kevin’s body, which bore torture marks, was found in a river.
Interestingly, Neenu’s parents belonged to different communities, with her father being a Christian and mother a Muslim. But they were against Neenu’s relationship with Kevin because of his Dalit background and his economic condition. The case was fast-tracked and trial began only six months ago.
Neenu, who stays with Kevin’s parents, had deposed against her brother and parents. Kevin’s father has welcomed the verdict but said that he will move a higher court against the acquittal of Neenu’s father.
First Published: Aug 23, 2019 00:28 IST