Nearly six months after Kevin P Joseph, a newly-wed was abducted and then allegedly murdered by his wife’s family, the Kottayam Additional Jilla Sessions Court has observed that it is a case of honour killing. The court has also ordered that the trial should finish in six months.
According to reports, the Special Public Prosecutor had asked the court to consider the crime as an “honour killing”, pointing to the Supreme Court order in March which put in place punitive, preventive and remedial guidelines to tackle ‘honour killings’. The defence lawyer, however, objected to the crime being labelled an honour killing.
The body of Kevin P Joseph, a 23-year-old mechanic from Kottayam was found floating in a canal at Chaliyekkara in Kollam district on May 28, two days after he had registered his marriage with Neenu (21). The couple, who had been in a relationship for two years, had gotten their marriage registered under the Special Marriage Act at Kottayam district on May 25. Hours later, Kevin was abducted from his residence in Kottayam by an armed gang. Over a day later, body was found in a canal at Chaliyekkara.
Based on Neenu’s complaint, a case was filed against her family, who were opposed to their marriage. Kevin is a Dalit Christian and the girl's father is a Christian, while her mother is a Muslim. Neenu had, however, earlier told TNM that she suspected that more than caste, it was the difference in their status that their families objected to.
Aneesh, a friend of Kevin, who had also been abducted and beaten up by the gang had been released after he agreed to bring Neenu back to the family. "I told them that I wanted to vomit and they let me out of the car. Then they said I will be let off if I agreed to bring Neenu back. There were two cars and Kevin was being taken in the other car. When I asked where he was, they also told me that Kevin has escaped," Aneesh had told Manorama TV.
Neenu’s brother Shanu Chacko is the prime accused in the case, while her father Chacko is the fifth accused. They were both arrested and booked on the charges of murder and conspiracy. There are 12 other accused in the case.