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10 guilty of honour killing in Kerala

The court will pronounce the quantum of punishment on Saturday

By K.M. Rakesh in Bangalore

  • Published 23.08.19, 2:13 AM
  • Updated 23.08.19, 2:13 AM
Kevin P Joseph
Kevin P Joseph (Sourced by Correspondent)

A Kerala court on Thursday held 10 men guilty of murdering a young Dalit Christian man who had married his love of three years defying her family’s objections.

In the first recorded case of honour killing in the southern state, Kevin P. Joseph, 23, was abducted on May 26, 2018, within hours of filing a joint application for marriage with Neenu Chacko in Kottayam. A day later, his body, which bore marks of torture, was found dumped in a river in Kollam, some 90km away.

While the family of Kevin, who worked as a motor mechanic in Kottayam, had no issues with the marriage, Neenu’s family had raised strong objections. While her father is a Catholic, her mother is a Muslim.

Principal sessions judge C. Jayachandran pronounced 10 of the 14 accused people guilty, and acquitted the rest, including the girl’s father, Chacko John. Among those found guilty is Shanu Chacko, the girl’s brother and principal accused.

“Based on the evidence, the court found that it was a case of honour killing,” public prosecutor C.S. Ajayan said.

The court will pronounce the quantum of punishment on Saturday.

The cold-blooded murder had rocked Kerala, which boasts of communal amity.

After a swift investigation, police arrested 14 people, including Chacko John, Shanu, some relatives and criminals hired for the murder.

Kevin’s father Joseph Jacob said he would appeal the acquittal of Chacko John.

“I know for sure that Chacko John was involved in the murder. I will file an appeal,” he told reporters.

The probe was completed in three months after Kerala High Court gave a six-month deadline considering the importance of the honour killing case.

The trial itself was completed in 90 days from April 26. The court heard all witnesses, including Neenu who accused her family members, including her father and brother, of killing Kevin since they thought her marriage would bring dishonour to the family. Neenu now lives with his family.

Kottayam superintendent of police Harishankar said he was happy with the outcome of the investigation and the speedy trial.