Chengannur: Three decades after her husband Chacko was murdered by a gang led by Sukumara Kurup, who has been absconding since, Santhamma has said that she has forgiven the culprits.
“We don’t know whether he’s alive or dead. However, we forgive Sukumara Kurup and the others involved in the murder of my husband...,” Santhamma told Bhaskaran Pillai, one of Kurup’s accomplices in the heinous crime.
Moved by the magnanimous gesture, Pillai wiped away a tear as he felt that the guilt which burdened him for decades was finally sweeping away.
“I was not mature enough to understand the consequences of my actions…,” Pillai could not complete the sentence, for his throat was choking with emotion.
Comforting him, Santhamma held his hands and said: “The Bible teaches us to forgive others. I forgive you. I will pray for you and your family.”
“I just feel like God has been with me throughout this whole journey helping me,” she said.
Chacko’s siblings Johnson, Antony, and Jossy also tried to reassure Pillai, quoting Bible verses on forgiveness.
“We don’t hold any grudges against you. Every day we pray for you and your family,” Chacko’s brother Johnson told Pillai.
Santhamma expressed her desire to meet Pillai and the other propagators of her husband’s murder and forgive them to Fr George Panackal, director of the UK-based Divine Retreat Centre through journalist Kuriakose. As per his directions, Congress worker Eby Kuriakose and Youth Congress leader Titty Parayil contacted Pillai, the second accused in the case and a close relative of the main accused Kurup, and invited him to meet Santhamma.
The meeting was arranged by Fr Panackal near the St Thomas Malankara Syrian Catholic Church at Chengannur on Saturday.
“Prayers helped Santhamma get through the pain of losing her loved one. She felt love and compassion for the culprits and wanted them to feel the same,” said Fr Panackal.
“I feel relieved. I was not this happy when I was released from jail,” Pillai said.
The case against Kurup, Pillai and the others is that they tried to claim an insurance payout of Rs 8 lakh by murdering Chacko, who bore a resemblance to Kurup, and burnt the body and tried to pass it off as Kurup’s own. The incident took place on January 21, 1984. That plot had failed and Kurup is still missing. However, his accomplices including Pillai were arrested and sentenced to life imprisonment.
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