Kottayam: The much awaited verdict in the Kevin murder case has come. The Principal Sessions Court has declared that 10 accused as guilty of murdering Kevin. The accused includes Kevin’s brother-in-law, Sanu. However, Kevin’s father-in-law, Chacko John, who is also the fifth accused has been acquitted by the court for want of credible evidence. Four others are also acquitted in the case.
The amount of punishment will be declared by the court day after tomorrow.
The court also observed that the murder comes under honour killing, which might increase the severity of the punishment.
Kevin’s father has told that he would challenge the acquittal of Chacko John in a higher court.
The Kottayam Principal Session Court gave the verdict in the case in record time of just three months. Senior advocates say that only rarely do courts complete the proceedings quickly of cases that are sensational and big.
The case involves the murder of Kevin, a Dalit Christian, by his wife’s father and her brother with the help of other accomplices. Kevin’s wife, Neenu, belongs to the affluent Syrian Christian community and their relation was strongly condemned by her family.
Nevertheless, Neenu eloped with Kevin and they married privately. This enraged Neenu’s family who kidnapped Kevin a few days after their marriage from Kottayam. His dead body was recovered a day later from the Chaliyakara river in Punalur.
Neenu had gone to the police station with Kevin’s father to lodge a complaint of her husband’s kidnapping. However, the police SI, Shibu, did not take immediate action on her complaint. The police rose to action only after media began to cover the story of Neenu crying in front of the police station.
There is accusation that the police SI had taken bribe from Neenu’s family and tried to hush-up the case.
There were 12 accused including Neenu’s father, Chacko John and her brother, Sanu Chacko. There were 113 witnesses, 240 documents, and 55 evidences in the case. The case proceedings were over in just three months.
The government came under flak when it decided to retake SI Shibu into service after the officer was removed following his involvement in the case. The government quickly changed their decision after much public outcry.
The murder of Kevin brought out the reality of Dalit oppression and the inequality they suffer in the Christian community in Kerala. It exposed the casteist mentality of the Kerala psyche and raised many questions about the social systems still existing in the literate society of Kerala.