'We saw him lying on the ground, all the things that he had bought -milk, eggs and Cheetos- scattered around him'

10-year-old Kochi boys brutal killing by mentally ill neighbour shatters neighbourhood
news News Wednesday, April 27, 2016 - 19:50

Risty John lived at Pulleppady in Kochi near the railway lines which he had to cross everyday to go to school, church or the nearby shops.

The 10-year-old would tell his mother Lini that he had become careful about crossing the tracks recently because he wanted to live a long life so that he could take care of  his parents. But while he may have grown more watchful about the trains, nobody in his neighbourhood excepted him to die so tragically.

On Tuesday, Risty was allegedly stabbed 17 times by Aji Devasia, his neighbour, when he was returning home after buying groceries.

“Now he is gone, we couldn’t save him,” says Lini, unable to speak anymore.

Risty was a student of the 5th grade in St Alberts School, Ernakulam. His funeral was held at St Mary’s Basilica on Wednesday morning.

The people of the neighbourhood gathered at Risty’s house after his funeral on Wednesday. They have still not got over the shock and were clueless on how to console Risty’s parents -John and Lini.

Risty's house

Aji -the neighbour accused of killing Risty- is allegedly mentally ill and a drug addict. He lives in the house Risty’s.

“Aji used to torture his parents physically. To escape from him, his mother used to come to Risty’s house. When this continued for some time, some of the women in the colony had complained against him. That was the only reason for Aji’s rivalry,” says Augustine, one of the neighbours.

Risty, who had been sent to a nearby shop to get eggs and milk was attacked just 50 metres from his house.

Aani, an eye witness to the tragedy said -while pointing to the exact spot where the stabbing took place, “All our children used to go to shops to get groceries. Who would have expected this! By the time we reached there, we saw him lying on the ground, all the things that he had bought -milk, eggs and Cheetos- scattered around him.”

John who sits in the courtyard staring at the lane where Risty was attacked, says, “Sitting here we could see him running there in that lane. But yesterday we could not save him. What else should I say?”

Thankamma, Aji’s mother is scared to come out of her house. She doesn’t know how her neighbours are going to react.

“I don’t know why he did that to a small kid. He used to hit me every day, but till now he never tried to attack others. What should I tell to Risty’s parents? Will they ever forgive me?” Thankamma weeps.

“I had been trying to bring him out of addiction for many years. I tried to take him to addiction centers, but nothing worked out,” she said.

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