Murder of tribal man: Kerala special court convicts 13 people for


Palakkad: A special court in Kerala on Tuesday convicted 13 people for beating to death a tribal man in Palakkad district of the state for allegedly stealing food articles in 2018.

Madhu, a tribal man from Attappady, was beaten to death after he was caught and tied up by a group of local people alleging theft on February 22, 2018.

More than five years after the incident, special court judge K M Ratheesh Kumar convicted them for the offence of culpable homicide not amounting to murder under Section 304 Part II of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) which carries a maximum punishment of 10 years jail term, Special Public Prosecutor (SPP) Rajesh M Menon told reporters.

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The jail terms to be served by the convicts would be pronounced on Wednesday, the SPP said.

He also said that of the 13, the first accused was convicted for the offence under Section 304 II of IPC and the remaining 12 were additionally held guilty for the crimes under Section 326 (voluntarily causing grievous hurt by dangerous weapons or means) and 367 (kidnapping or abducting in order to subject person to griev ous hurt, slavery) of the IPC.

Sections 326 and 367 carry maximum punishments of life imprisonment and up to 10 years jail term, respectively.

The 12 convicts were also held guilty for the offence under Section 3(1)(d) of the SC/ST Act, the SPP said.

The 16th accused in the case was only held guilty for the offence of assault or criminal force otherwise than on grave provocation under Section 352 IPC which carries a punishment which may extend to three months or a fine which may extend to Rs 500 or both, he said.

The SPP said the court was of the view that the accused did not have the intention to kill the tribal man.

Of the 16 persons, the remaining two accused were acquitted by the court.

SPP Menon said the court did not find the accused guilty of murder and the reasons for the same would be evident after the judgement copy is made available.

Madhu’s mother said she was not satisfied with the verdict, especially the acquittal of the two accused and none of the 16 being convicted for murder. “I will appeal against this verdict,” she told reporters outside the court.

The victim’s sister said she was thankful to the court for convicting 14 of the 16 accused.

The sister also said she was happy with the outcome as no one thought they could carry their fight for justice to Madhu so long and till this stage.

“So, I will no longer be disappointed or sad. I know I can take this matter all the way to the Supreme Court, if required. We will go in appeal seeking murder charges and against the acquittal of the two accused.

“I do not believe that my brother has got justice. He will not get justice till all of them (all 16 accused) are convicted,” she said outside the court.

The special court had reserved its judgement in the case on March 30.

Prior to the pronouncement of the verdict, the victim’s mother and sister said they expected that Madhu will get justice. “We expect a good verdict,” the victim’s mother said.

His sister said: “I believe my brother will get justice. We expect it to be a good verdict.”

The trial in the matter saw witnesses turning hostile, allegations of threats to the victim’s family to settle or withdraw the case and a change in the SPP in June last year.

Advocate Menon, who was the additional public prosecutor in the case, took charge as SPP in June last year after the victim’s family sought a change in prosecutor.

He was the fourth SPP in the case.

According to the post-mortem report in the case, Madhu had injuries on the head and bruises all over the body, including broken ribs, as well as internal bleeding, police had said.

Madhu, who was said to be mentally unsound, was living in a cave in the forest for the past several months, his family had said.

His mother and sister had told television channels back in 2018 that a group of nearly 10-15 persons had gone to the forest and thrashed him for allegedly stealing food articles from some shops in the forest-fringe Agali town of Palakkad district.

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( With inputs from )

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