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30 May 2020, 11:38 HRS IST
  • PTI
  • Dalit Christian honour killing: Sentencing of convicts deferred

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19:4 HRS IST

Kottayam (Kerala), Aug 24 (PTI) A court in Kerala's Kottayam on Saturday deferred pronouncing the quantum of sentence to the 10 convicts in the honour killing of a Dalit Christian youth last year, which had triggered widespread protests across the state.

Principal Sessions Judge C S Jayachandran heard the arguments on the quantum of punishment to be awarded to the convicts in the killing of Kevin P Joseph and later deferred the matter to Tuesday.

The court had on Thursday convicted 10 of the 14 accused in the case, observing that the killing of 23-year-old Joseph by his wife's relatives, including her brother and prime accused Syaanu Chacko, was honour killing.

The prosecution sought maximum punishment to the convicts, pointing out that the case would fall under the category of the rarest of the rare. The defence opposed the demand, arguing that it was not a case of honour killing and pleaded for maximum leniency due to the young age of the accused.

The defence counsel also pointed out that the convicted people had no other criminal background and they have their parents to be looked after. One of the accused broke down in the court room during the hearing.

All the 10 accused were found guilty under various sections of the Indian Penal Code, including 302 (murder) and 364A (kidnapping for ransom). The court had acquitted four persons, including Joseph's father-in-law, citing lack of evidence.

Joseph and Nennu had married at a registrar's office in Ettumanoor against the wishes of her family.

The body of Joseph, who was abducted along with a relative from Mannanam in the district, was found on May 28 last year in a stream in Chaliyakkara in Kollam district. The victim's kin had alleged that he died due to police laxity as they refused to conduct an investigation on the basis of his wife's missing complaint.

During the trial that began in April, Neenu had deposed before the court and said her father had objected to the relationship as Joseph belonged to the Dalit Christian community.

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