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Saturday, May 21, 2022

Kerala lynching case: repeated absence of special public prosecutor appearing for lynched tribal man questioned by court

The repeated absence of the special public prosecutor representing lynched tribal youth Madhu has been questioned by the Mannarkkad SC/ST special court. The special public prosecutor was absent during November 15, 2021, hearing forcing the court to adjourn the hearing to January 25 this year. However, the prosecutor failed to appear in court yesterday as well and the hearing has now been adjourned until February 26.

VT Raghunath, who had been appointed as the prosecutor for the deceased tribal man in August 2019, has failed to appear before the court even once since his appointment. So far, only his junior lawyers have appeared in the case. Reportedly, he had unofficially confirmed that he had resigned from the post. The DGP office had, however, asked him to continue as the prosecutor in Madhu’s case.

Despite the fact that the incident took place in February 2018, the trial is yet to begin. Available information suggests that finding a prosecutor for the victim has also been difficult. The delay has upset the family members of Madhu whose mother expressed her disappointment with the fact the trial has not begun even after four years.

“It has been four years since my son was lynched. We don’t know why the trial has not started. We just want justice. They (the police) cite different reasons, which I do not understand. We have no money and influence. All the accused men have been walking freely all these years. We have no one else for support as there are only three women in the family”, media reports quote the tribal youth’s mother Malli as saying.

A 3500-page chargesheet was drafted by the Special Investigation Team (SIT) set up to probe the incident. 16 persons have been named as accused and have been charged with murder as well as offenses under the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989. All the accused are, however, out on bail.

The CPI (M) government has been accused of shielding the accused as one of them identified as Shamsuddin had been as the CPI(M) branch secretary in September 2021. However, the decision was revoked after much opposition. Critics have also questioned the delay on the part of the government to appoint a permanent public prosecutor to represent the deceased tribal victim.

In a horrifying incident from Kerala that sent shockwaves across the country, a tribal man, Madhu, was lynched by a mob of locals, led by K Hussain and Abdul Kareem, over the accusation of stealing 1 kg of rice.

27-year-old Madhu was beaten to death over an allegation of theft in Kadukumanna village in Attappady, near Palakkad in February 2018. He was tied up with his own lungi and severely beaten with sticks before police intervened. According to the sources, the youth began vomiting in the police vehicle while being taken to the police station, and though he was taken to the hospital by the police, he was declared brought dead.

(Featured Image Source: OpIndia)

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