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Thursday, June 8, 2023

Madhu lynching case: 13 get 7-year RI

A Special Court for Scheduled Castes and Tribes at Mannarkkad in Palakkad district on Wednesday awarded seven years of rigorous imprisonment to 13 men for lynching a 27-year-old tribal youth.

On Tuesday, the court had found 14 of the 16 accused guilty of the crime which took place on February 22, 2018.

The conviction and punishment came two months after the fifth anniversary of his murder.

Twenty-four witnesses who turned hostile will now have to face legal scrutiny and the first accused will have to pay a fine of Rs 1.05 lakh. The remaining 12 have to collectively pay a fine of Rs 1.18 lakh.

Prosecution counsel later told the media that they are happy with the judgment but not with the quantum of punishment. On getting the papers, they will look for further ways for a further legal scrutiny.

While two of the accused have been acquitted, the court has found 14 others guilty and of them one was sentenced to three months’ imprisonment and a fine of Rs 500.

Since the accused has already spent three months in jail, he will now be free.

Madhu of Chindukuru in Attappadi in Palakkad was lynched by a crowd for allegedly stealing some provisions from a shop.

A class seven dropout, Madhu learned carpentry but chose to lead a nomadic life. He used to aimlessly wander in the plains, hills and forests here and visit his house occasionally.

Trouble started for Madhu when some provisions got stolen from a shop. A person, who frequented the forests to collect wood, informed the locals about a man hiding in a forest cave.

Villagers, along with the shopkeeper, reached the forest only to find Madhu there.

On recovering the stolen items worth Rs 200 from his possession, irate villagers made Madhu walk around 4 kms with the provisions on his head and kept assaulting and abusing him.

When they reached Muukkali, police arrived and took Madhu to the station where he collapsed and died.

The accused’s strong political connections with the ruling and Opposition parties and the state government’s delay in appointing a special prosecutor led to a slow trial.

At one point, even the Kerala High Court intervened, directing speeding up of the trial.

When the trial began, many witnesses turned hostile but Madhu’s mother and his sister fought the case with the support of some well wishers.

(The story has been published via a syndicated feed with a modified headline.)

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