Mavelikkara additional sessions court judge Kenneth George, hearing the infamous Venmony double murders awarded a death sentence to a Bangladeshi illegal immigrant Labilu Hussain (39). His accomplice and fellow Bangladeshi, Juval Hussain (24), received life imprisonment.
Additional Public Prosecutor S Solomon said that the court agreed that the way in which the elderly woman was killed, made this case the rarest of the rare. The killers had bashed 68-year-old Elykutty Cherian’s face with sharp gardening hoes and sickles and left it beyond recognition. Her husband, AP Cherian (76) too was killed with similar weapons and an iron rod blow to his head.
To the dismay of the victims’ family, the judge spared the second accused from the gallows mentioning his ‘young age’ and since he had ‘elderly parents back home’. It really makes no sense, since the illegal trespasser into Bharat was at least 21 when he committed the cold-blooded murder in late 2019, the dead have children too and his elderly parents back home are probably younger than the ones who he killed. Labilu Hussain the prime accused was punished with death and double life term, while Juval Husain was handed three life terms.
Since the sentences will run concurrently, Juval Hussain could well be legally free after some years. Labilu Hussain’s is also likely to appeal his death penalty in higher courts, and there is no dearth of dubious NGOs and influential Lutyens’ lawyers willing to come to the rescue of such killers and anti-socials.
It is in this context that the much-maligned Citizenship (Amendment) Act introduced on the 11th of December 2019 and the proposed nation-wide NRC (National Register of Citizens) should be remembered. For all opponents of CAA and NRC, this case should prove an eye-opener. These are not persecuted Hindus who had come to Bharat seeking refuge but criminal Islamists looking to loot and kill. HinduPost had earlier reported the impunity with which such criminals enter and exit Bharat.
Fear of NRC had driven illegal Muslim immigrants from all over Bharat to make a beeline for their countries of origin, especially Bangladesh. But after seeing the Indian state put both CAA and NRC in deep freeze due to protests by vested interest groups, the criminal infiltrators and illegal economic immigrants have again been emboldened. Killers like the Hussains were looking for weak spots to make a killing. They headed to the Islamist safe haven of Kerala and arrived at Chengannur railway station on November 2, 2019.
This double murder had prompted a flurry of ‘document checks’ of such suspected illegal immigrants by authorities. Back then, police mentioned that they were investigating who facilitated the arrival of these Bangladeshis and assisted them locally. Such suspicions find no place in the honorable court order and it can be safely concluded that the serious case of conspiracy is buried.
By November 7, the Hussains had settled in with other immigrant laborers and finished their recce of the area. The killers zoomed in on the elderly Cherians and confirmed that they were to be the prey. Cherian was enjoying his retired life, was politically active and thus helpful to others, his children were not living with him and there was just his wife and him living in the house.
When approached for menial farm jobs, Cherian asked the Bangladeshis to come later, but informed them specifically not to come on Sundays. Yet, on November 10 (which was a Sunday), the Hussains arrived early in the morning and Cherian asked them to clean the surrounding bushes and grass.
Uninvited, the proactive ‘laborers’ even climbed the palms and plucked coconuts. They knew that it was church day and that the Christian elderly couple would go to church in their best attire. Cherian paid them Rs. 650 each for the labor and extra for harvesting the nuts and they left.
Sometime afternoon the next day the killers reappeared. This time they asked Cherian whether they could live in his storeroom located beside his house and the unsuspecting man fell for the trap. When he agreed, the Hussains wanted him to show them the space.
As soon as Cherian opened the room, he was attacked with head blows using the same farming tools stored inside. The killers then moved into the kitchen and killed the vulnerable elderly lady using the same weapons and bashed her in her face.
Phone calls went unanswered, the lights never came on that night, and early the next day a couple of relatives and a neighbor went there to inspect. Since nobody answered, they went around the back only to find the back door unlocked. Once they entered, they saw the bloodied body of the lady lying face down and the weapons nearby.
Cupboards in the bedroom had been ransacked and chairs in the dining hall lay upside down, but Cherian was nowhere to be seen. Shocked, they came out and informed the local police. Police arrived and discovered the other body in the storeroom and noted that cash and valuables were missing. The milk that arrived at 5 pm remained untouched and people seeing Cherian around noon meant that the murder happened in between. It was also a stormy rainy afternoon.
Upon inquiry, they found that laborers had indeed worked there and the investigation moved towards areas where the immigrants lived. Labilu and Juval were found missing since the evening of November 11 and a hunt began in earnest. Another Bangladeshi living in a nearby labor camp had photos of the criminals and it soon reached police stations all over Bharat. He also informed the police that the Hussains claimed that they were shifting to Chennai.
Their faces popped up on CCTVs from Chennai central railway station when they were about to board the Coromandal express bound for Kolkata. The train with 24 coaches arrives at Vishakapatnam in Andhra Pradesh around 9 pm and by then 100 local and railway police personnel were ready. Though they had unreserved tickets, the Hussains had comfortably settled in a reserved one and ran when they saw the police. Outnumbered, they soon surrendered and 45 sovereigns of gold, Rs 17,000 in cash, two watches, a mobile phone and a purse, all belonging to the victims, were recovered from the duo.
They confessed that they boarded the Chennai Mail from Chengannur in Kerala and were planning to cross over to Bangladesh exactly the way they had infiltrated into Bharat. Though both of them had passports, they never used them.
Police said that they investigated when they entered Bharat, how did they travel all over the country, what else did they do in Bharat, and whether they had committed any other criminal acts in our country but added that they found nothing! What about the local contractor who brought the killers here? There are many questions still unanswered, and this racket of illegal immigration needs a through probe at national level.