Kevin’s murder is ‘honour’ killing, says Kerala court


The Hindu

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 Girl’s father acquitted, brother and 9 others found guilty of murder and kidnapping for ransom

Finding that the murder of Kevin P. Joseph, a Dalit Christian youth from Kottayam, was a case of honour killing, the Principal Sessions Court, Kottayam, on Thursday convicted 10 among the 14 persons arraigned as guilty.

 

Pronouncing the judgement, judge C. Jayachandran approved the prosecution’s argument that racial prejudice was the motive behind the youth’s murder. It acquitted four persons, including Chacko John, father of the victim’s wife Neenu, for want of evidence. It, however, found 10 persons, including Neenu’s brother Shyanu Chacko, guilty of murder (IPC Section 302) and kidnapping for ransom (IPC Section 364 [a] ).

Besides Chacko John, those acquitted were identified as Vishnu alias Appunni, Shinu Shahjahan and Remees Sherif.
The quantum of sentence to the guilty will be declared after a hearing on Saturday.

During the trial, Special Prosecutor C.S. Ajayan requested the court to consider the crime as a case of honour killing, pointing to the Supreme Court order in March which put in place punitive, preventive and remedial guidelines to tackle honour killings.

According to the prosecution, first accused Syanu Chacko and fifth accused Chacko John were reluctant to send Neenu with Kevin. To buttress the argument, it also quoted a statement in this regard by Ms. Chacko, a key witness in the case, and pleaded the court to consider it as a rarest of rare case.

‘Honour killing’ of youth triggers protests in Kerala
 
The counsel of the accused, however, objected to this by citing that Chacko John had agreed to marry his daughter off to Kevin during a reconciliation talk held at the Gandhinagar police station.

As per the case, a gang led by Shyanu Chacko abducted Kevin from Gandhi Nagar to Thenmala on May 27 last year and chased him to a stream at Chaliyakkara, near Thenmala, with an intention to kill him.

Two days before the death, Kevin and Ms. Chacko had filed a joint application for marriage. While Ms. Chacko was sent to a hostel thereafter, Kevin shifted to the residence of Aneesh, one of his relative. Though the duo was abducted from there, Aneesh was let off later.

The special investigation team led by Dy. SP Girish P. Sarathy, which probed the case, submitted the charge sheet on August 21, 2018.

The trial in the case began on April 24 with the examination of witnesses, followed by examination of the accused. Except for a 10-day break in May, the hearing was conducted without any interruptions and the proceedings drew to a close on July 30, in a record time of just over three months.

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