Kerala: Court rules Kevin Joseph death was ‘honour killing’

A principal sessions court in Kottayam Thursday ruled that the death of Kevin P Joseph (24), a Dalit Christian man, was an ‘honour killing’ and convicted 10 accused persons including Syanu Chacko, Kevin’s wife’s brother in the case.

The quantum of punishment will be announced Saturday.

On Thursday, Judge C Jayachandran convicted 10 persons including Syanu Chacko under charges of murder (Section 302), kidnapping (Section 364 A), criminal conspiracy (Section 120 B), house-trespass (Section 449), voluntarily causing hurt (Section 321), wrongful confinement (Section 342) and criminal intimidation (Section 506-2). At the same time, the court acquitted Neenu’s father Chacko and three others in the case for want of evidence.

Throughout the trial, that lasted just over three months, the prosecution had argued that the death of Kevin must be seen as an ‘honour killing’ and demanded for maximum punishment

On May 24, 2018, Kevin P. Joseph and Neenu Chacko, 20 ,who belongs to an upper-caste Christian family, had reportedly married against the wishes of bride’s family. The Dalit background of the youth Kevin whom Neenu married, and the family’s lower economic status came in the way of their love. Two days later, Kevin and his friend Aneesh were abducted from his house by the behest of Neenu’s family, particularly her brother Syanu Chacko.  The body of Kevin was found in a stream, 24 hours after he was captured from his relatives’ house by a group of around 10 people, while his relative Aneesh was abandoned on the way with injuries. The body deceived signs of extreme cruelty including cuts and tears, and eyes were found to be missing.

Honor killings are familiar in northern states of India and had been unheard of in Kerala.

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