A special court in Kerala on Wednesday sentenced 13 people convicted for beating a tribal man to death in 2018 in Palakkad to seven years imprisonment.
Madhu, a tribal man from Attappady, was beaten to death after he was tied up by a group of local people, who accused him of food theft on February 22, 2018.
Chargesheet stated that the tribal youth was hit on the face and back, kicked in the chest and his head smashed against a wall by the accused. Though the mob handed him over to the Agali police in Palakkad, he died on the way to the hospital.
More than five years after the lynching, special court judge K.M. Ratheesh Kumar sentenced them to seven years in jail for the offence of culpable homicide not amounting to murder under Section 304 Part II of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and various other offences under the IPC, Special Public Prosecutor (SPP) Rajesh M. Menon told reporters, reports PTI news agency.
The convicts were also sentenced for varying terms for other offences under the IPC, but as the jail terms have to be served concurrently, they will serve only seven years.
The convicts are Husain, Marakkar, Shamsuddin, Radhakrishnan, Aboobacker, Siddeek, Ubaid, Najeeb, Jaijumon, Sajeev, Satheesh, Hareesh, and Biju.
Madhu’s family expressed their dissatisfaction with the punishment given to the convicts and said that it was not enough.
“The sentence is not enough,” his mother said to reporters outside the court.
His sister said: “We are not satisfied with the punishment given. There has been a failure on the part of the court. The court probably did not understand what actually happened, how he was beaten and brought out from the forest. This court was meant to protect our interests. If we do not get justice here, where will we have to go for that? The only option we have is to move the higher courts. We will get justice for Madhu, even if we have to go to the Supreme Court for it.”
During the much-delayed trial, three prosecution lawyers pulled out of the case, and 22 of the 27 prosecution witnesses turned hostile. Kerala’s leftist government at times got under fire for the delay.
Madhu’s family and the prosecution witnesses had faced threats from the accused, which prompted the trial court to cancel the bail of 12 of the 16 alleged accused.
In the chargesheet, police also produced the treatment records of Madhu from the Government Mental Health Centre at Kuthiravattom and Government Tribal Speciality Hospital at Kottathara.