In a major development, an additional Sessions Court in Kottayam has agreed to consider the murder of Dalit Christian youth Kevin P. Joseph as an incident of ‘honour killing’, making it the first such case reported in Kerala.
Pronouncing its order on a petition moved by Special Prosecutor CS Ajayan, Additional Sessions Judge K.G. Sanal Kumar on Wednesday directed to fast track the trial. The court had completed a hearing on the petition earlier last week.
The case will be heard on a day-to-day basis and the proceedings must be completed within a period of six months after taking cognisance.
During the hearing, the prosecution argued that Kevin was murdered only because he was a Dalit Christian. The defendant’s side, on the other hand, argued that it should not be treated as ‘honour killing’ as both parties were Christians.
The case pertains to the murder of 24-year-old Kevin who married Neenu Chacko who belonged to a different community, at a civil marriage ceremony on May 24.
On May 27, he was was dragged out of the house from Mannanam near Kottayam and taken in a car along with one of his relatives, who was later released by the abductors. The next day Kevin’s body was found in a canal near Thenmala in Kollam. Investigations later revealed that he was kidnapped by the relatives of his wife. The charge sheet claimed he was forced to jump into a river, leading to his death.
Listing the case as an instance of homicidal drowning, murder charges were clapped against all 14 accused in the case including Neenu’s father Chacko John and brother Shyanu Chacko.
Source: The Hindu