10 convicted in Kevin ‘honour killing’ case, including his brother-in-law
In what is believed to be Kerala’s first honour killing case, the Kottayam district sessions court on Thursday convicted 10 out of 14 accused in the sensational Kevin murder case. The court found Sanu Chacko, Kevin’s fiancée Neenu Chacko’s brother, and nine others guilty but acquitted Neenu’s father and three others.
The court observed that it was a clear case of ‘honour killing’ and convicted the 10 accused for various charges, including s murder, kidnapping, trespassing. The quantum of punishment will be announced on Saturday. The prosecution sought maximum punishment to the guilty saying the cold-blooded murder had hurt conscience of the state and they deserved no sympathy.
According to prosecution Kevin P Joseph (23), a Dalit Christian from Kottayam, was kidnapped and murdered two days after he married his fiancée Neenu against the wishes of her parents. Neenu’s brother was the first accused and father fifth accused in the case.
Kevin had married Neenu Chacko (21), a Christian from an affluent family, against the wishes of her parents in May last year. He was working as an electrician and she was pursuing a course in a private college in Kottayam. They were reportedly in love for three years but Neenu’s parents opposed the relationship. Later they registered their marriage at the sub-registrar’s office but they were summoned to the police station after Neenu’s parents filed a missing person’s complaint, said prosecution.
At the police station, her parents tried their best to convince Neenu but she stood her ground. There were also attempts to forcibly take her 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 later Neenu was asked to stay in a nearby hostel and Kevin was allowed to go to his relatives place, said the charge-sheet.
Neenu’s brother Sanu Chacko who works in the Middle-East rushed to Kottayam after hearing of the developments and hatched a conspiracy to eliminate Kevin, said the prosecution. A group of 12 people, led by Sanu, barged into the house where Kevin was staying with his relatives, kidnapped him and Anish, his relative. Anish was let off after being thrashed for two hours and he was the first to alert his parents and wife. Kevin’s body, bearing torture marks, was found on a river bed the next day.
Interestingly, Neenu’s parents also belonged to different communities -- father a Christian and mother a Muslim -- but they opposed her relation because of Kevin’s Dalit background and his poor economic conditions. The case was fast-tracked and trial began only six months ago. Neenu, now staying with Kevin’s parents, had deposed against her brother and parents. Kevin’s father has welcomed the verdict but he said he will move a higher court against the acquittal of the Neenu’s father.