Kochi: K P Satheesan, who was recently appointed as the special public prosecutor of the Attappady Madhu lynching case, recused himself from the case following a complaint filed by the murdered tribal youth's family.
A few days ago, Madhu's mother Malliamma alleged that Satheesan's appointment was an attempt to sabotage the case. She also staged a hunger strike in front of the Palakkad district collectorate against the appointment, which was done ignoring the demands of Malliyamma and the action council that seeks justice for Madhu.
The council and Madhu's mother had sought the appointment of lawyers like Rajesh M Menon, Jeevesh and C K Radhakrishnan. Malliyamma had met Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan and many government officials requesting to appoint Menon.
It's been more than five years since the 30-year-old tribal youth was lynched by a mob accusing him of theft. The Mannarkkad Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe Special Court held 14 out of 16 accused in the case guilty. The first (Hussain), second (Marakkar), third (Shamsudheen), fifth (Radhakrishnan), sixth (Abubakr), seventh (Siddique), eighth (Ubaid), ninth (Najeeb), 10th (Jaijumon), 12th (Sajeevan), 13th (Satheesh), 14th (Hareesh), 15th (Biju), and the 16th (Muneer) accused were held guilty for murdering Madhu. The accused have moved the Kerala High Court to appeal the verdict.
The shocking incident
Attappady Chindekki Ooru Mallan’s and Malli’s son Madhu was lynched by a mob on February 22, 2018. Madhu, who was mentally challenged, used to stay in a cave inside the wilds away from his family.
Madhu was captured from a cave inside a forest and paraded to Mukkali, a small junction in Attappady, by a group of people who accused him of frequently stealing from the shops in the area. He was allegedly assaulted by the accused leading to his death. He was handed over to the police at Mukkali and had to be taken to a hospital on the way to the police station. However, he was declared brought dead by the hospital.
There are 16 accused in the case, all natives of Mukkali, Anamooli and Kallamala areas of Attappady. There were 129 witnesses and 100 of them were examined. As many as 24 of them turned hostile during the trial. The Special Court Judge K M Ratheesh Kumar completed the trial proceedings of the case under the supervision of the High Court.
The prosecution has exuded confidence that the accused will be convicted and sentenced to maximum punishment. The defence counsels, on the other hand, are trying everything possible to get the accused acquitted. The defence’s major argument is that Madhu was tortured by the police, and not the accused.
The proceedings at the special court which is hearing the case had kicked off in April 2022.
Police arrested the accused two days after the incident following an uproar over Madhu’s death. Photographs and videos of the tribal youth in the custody of a group of people were widely circulated on social media.
All the 16 accused, however, secured conditional bail from the Kerala High Court on May 30, 2018. In August the trial court cancelled the bail of the 12 accused to prevent them from influencing the witnesses. The Kerala High Court upheld the decision to cancel the bail of 11 of the accused while setting aside the order on one of the accused.