Kottayam, August 22: The principal sessions court in Kottayam district of Kerala on Thursday delivered its verdict in the murder case of Dalit Christian youth Kevin Joseph. The court convicted 10 accused, including a brother of Kevin Joseph's fiance Neenu Chacko. Chacko John, father of Neenu, was acquitted. The quantum of punishment will be pronounced on August 24. The court termed Joseph's murder "honour killing".
On May 28 last year, the Kerala Police had fished out the body of Kevin Joseph, who had married Neenu Chacko (20), who belongs to a higher caste. The autopsy report had revealed that Kevin was tortured to death. Kevin went missing two days after he and Neenu filed an application for marriage. The murder had raised questions about Kerala's image as a liberal state.
The police believe that Shanu, who kidnapped Kevin from a relative’s residence in Kottayam, had planned the crime, eventually killing him. Kevin hailed from a Dalit-Christian family and Neenu’s family (Christian father and Muslim mother) were against their marriage.
Reacting to the order, Joseph's father said that it was unfortunate that four of the accused, including Neenu's father, have been let off. "I will react once the punishment is announced on Saturday. We are not happy that her father and three others have been let off. We will contest this," Joseph's father told IANS.
Kottayam Superintendent of Police Harisankar, who led the investigating team, said the police were happy that this tough case has been solved, and were now waiting to see the full judgement as to how the four acquittals happened. "It was a tough case because we had to work on circumstantial evidence. The hard work done by our team has paid off," Harisankar said. (With agency inputs)