24-Yr-Old Killed Just Two Days After Marriage; Kerala Court Convicts 10 For "Honour Killing"
Kottayam principal sessions court in Kerala on Thursday, August 22, observed that murder of Kevin Joseph, a Dalit Christian was ‘honour-killing’ and convicted 10 of the 14 accused. The girl’s father, Chacko John and three others were acquitted for lack of evidence, while her brother Shanu Chacko and nine others were found guilty of Kevin’s murder.
The quantum of the sentence will be pronounced on Saturday, August 24.
Reacting to the order, Kevin’s father said that it was unfortunate that Neenu’s father has been set free. “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,” said Kevin’s father.
‘Honor killing’ is a term used to define a killing the motive behind which is a sense of dishonour perceived to have brought to the family by the victim.
Kevin Joseph and Neenu Chacko married on May 24, 2018. Neenu’s family disapproved of the marriage as Kevin hailed from a Dalit background. Two days later Kevin and his friend Aneesh he was abducted from his residence at Mannanam by Neenu’s brother Shanu Chacko. Kevin’s body was recovered from a water canal in Kollam District two days after he was kidnapped.
The findings of the police inquiry suggested that Kevin drowned in the river as he was trying to escape from the accused. However, the autopsy reports confirmed that Kevin was forcibly made to drown in the canal.
Neenu in her statement said that her father repeatedly spoke of how their family’s prestige was at stake if Neenu married Kevin. She also accused the police of forcing her to write that she is willingly going with her parents.
The trial of the case was concluded on fast track basis and concluded within 15 months of the crime, the Principal Sessions Judge of Kottayam C Jayachandran held Shanu Chacko as the prime accused and nine others guilty of murder and abduction of Kevin. During the trial, Special Prosecutor C.S. Ajayan advised the court to take preventive and remedial guidelines to combat honour killings.
Kottayam Superintendent of Police Harisankar, who headed the investigating team said that the police were happy that the case had been solved and they’re now waiting to see the full judgement as to how the four acquittals happened.
The directions issued by the Supreme Court in March 2018 aims at preventing cases of “honour killing” after observing that no one can interfere with the right of two adults who wish to marry each other with consent. These directions were mentioned in the petition filed by NGO Shakti Vahini seeking action on Khap Panchayats and the terror of “honour killings.”