Cherpu (Thrissur): Kerala Police on Friday nabbed four of the 10 accused in the moral policing murder case, where private bus driver Sahar (32) was fatally assaulted when he visited the house of his female friend at night, from Uttarakhand.
The culprits, who were taken into custody from a hideout in Uttarakhand, are Kodakkattil Arun, Chirakkal Ameer, Niranjan and Suhail, all of whom belong to Cherpu. Police said all four would be brought to Thrissur by Saturday evening.
Sahar, of Kottam, was surrounded and beaten up by a mob on the premises of Thiruvanikkavu Temple at Kottam, Chirakkal, on February 18, when he arrived at the house of a female friend.
The youth suffered broken ribs and his vertebral column was fractured in the attack. His kidneys and other internal organs were also damaged. While under treatment at the hospital, Sahar succumbed to his injuries on March 7.
Incidentally, the first arrests in the case have taken place one month after the incident. From the beginning of the case, it was alleged that the police had adopted a lackadaisical attitude, allowing the accused to go into hiding.
The police version
According to the police, the accused had questioned Sahar when he reached the house of a female friend. During the argument, one of the accused slapped Sahar. Soon, others joined in and Sahar received multiple blows. He was detained by the mob till 3 am and beaten up.
Later, Sahar managed to limp home, from where was rushed to a private hospital in Thrissur by relatives. He soon underwent emergency surgery but had to be shifted to a ventilator.
Police said they had registered a murder case against 10 persons in connection with the incident. They also said Nelliparambil Rahul of Kottam, who allegedly instigated the violence, has fled the country.
Police suspect that a dispute between Sahar and Rahul, who knew each other, could have led to the incident.
A lookout notice was issued against seven others – Vishnu of Karikkinthara, Kottam; Machingal Tino; Kodakkattil Vijith; Kodakkattil Arun; Ettumana Karanayil Jinju Jayan and Chirakkal Ameer. Two others also were slapped with murder charges.
Allegations against police
Local people pointed out that the police had recovered the entire visuals of the attack on Sahar from the CCTV of the nearby temple and identified the assailants within a day after the incident. However, there was no move to arrest the culprits.
Meanwhile, the police said that no arrests were made at that time because a proper statement was not received from Sahar, who was in the hospital. The police also claimed that Sahar told them that he was attacked during a dispute over the timings of a bus on the Thriprayar route, of which he was the driver.
Shahar, a bachelor, is survived by his parents Shamsudeen and Suhara and sister Shabitha.