Kottayam: The Kottayam Additional Sessions Court on Wednesday stated that the murder of 24-year-old Kevin P Joseph was indeed a case of honour killing.
Assessing the background of the crime, the court produced its judgment over the prosecution's plea, demanding that Kevin's murder be considered as a case of honour killing. Resultantly, the trial will be completed within six months.
The charge-sheet says that Kevin, a Dalit Christian from Kottayam, was kidnapped and murdered by a gang led by Sanu Chacko, brother of Kevin's fiancee Neenu Chacko on May 27. Sanu is the prime accused while his father Chacko is the fifth accused.
Kevin had met Neenu as she pursued a course in a Kottayam college. Two days before the murder, the two of them had filed a joint application for marriage registration at a sub-registrar office near here as the family of the girl had fiercely objected to their marriage. Neenu's family later registered a complaint with the police stating that she had gone missing. Though the police summoned the two, Kevin and his cousin Anish left the girl back at her hostel as she confirmed that she intended to go with Kevin.
Thereafter, the armed gang, which arrived in three vehicles, reached Kottayam and vandalised Kevin's house and forcibly took away him and Anish, a native of Kalambukattuchira at Mannanam. The abductors thrashed Anish severely and left him on the way.
Kevin's body was found in a river in Kollam district on May 28. His relatives alleged that he was tortured and killed.
His family had alleged that laxity on the part of the local police in taking action on a man missing complaint filed by Neenu had resulted in the gruesome death of the youth.
Sub-inspector M S Shibu and ASI Sunnymon of the Gandhinagar police station were suspended while Kottayam district superintendent of police V M Mohammed Rafique was transferred following the incident.
The post-mortem conducted at the Kottayam Medical College hospital had found that there were 16 cuts and bruises on Kevin's body.
The findings of the police inquiry and the post-mortem say that Kevin drowned in the Chaliyakkara river while he was trying to escape from the gang. But doubts remain whether Kevin died after falling in the river while running at night or if he was beaten by the goons and dumped in the river in the belief that he had died.
Timeline of the case:
May 27: Kevin Joseph and cousin Anish abducted from his house at S H Mount near Kottayam by 13 men in the wee hours; the gang was allegedly engaged by his fiancee Neenu's family. His body was found in a river in Kollam district Monday. Anish released later.
May 28: His body found in a river near Thenmala in Kollam district.
May 29: A dawn-to-dusk hartal called by the BJP and UDF in Kottayam to protest over the incident.
May 30: The post-mortem of Kevin at Government Medical College Hospital, Kottayam, fails to establish whether it was death by drowning or murder by drowning, and sees equal possibility for both. The police decides to seek expert opinion. Tension prevailed at the hospital as the post-mortem was done.
June 1: The nine accused charged with murder and other crimes.
June 3: Police recover machetes allegedly used by the accused.
June 8: Two police officers who committed lapses in the initial investigation transferred.
June 9: The accused produced at the Ettumanur Judicial First-Class Magistrate court as their remand ended.
Nov 7: Kottayam Additional Sessions Court says Kevin was a victim of honour killing. Earlier, a prosecution had made a plea in this regard so as to complete proceedings in the case within six months as is warranted in honour killing cases.