Abducted by wife's kin, newly-wed man found dead in Kollam

The body of Kevin P Joseph (26), a resident of S H Mount in Kottayam, was found in a stream in Chaliyekkara, about 20 km from Thenmala, in Kollam district, around 8.30 am on Monday.

Police recovered the body of a newly-wed man from a canal in Kollam early on Monday, a day after he was reportedly abducted by a group of men that included members of his wife’s family.

The deceased — Kevin P Joseph (23) — is reported as a victim in a suspected case of honour killing.

The body of Kevin, a resident of SH Mount in Kottayam, was found in a canal in Chaliyekkara, about 20 km from Thenmala, in Kollam district at about 8.30 am on Monday. Kevin’s wife Neenu Chacko (21), a Thenmala native, had approached the Gandhinagar Police in Kottayam on Sunday, stating that Kevin and a relative of his, Anish (31), were abducted from the latter’s home in Mannanam in the early hours of the day.

Kevin’s family had also informed the police about the abduction. The police, it is charged, failed to initiate prompt action.

Kevin, an electrician from a Dalit Christian family, and Neenu, daughter of a Christian father and Muslim mother, had registered their marriage on Thursday. The couple decided to marry after Neenu’s family raised an objection to their two-year-long relationship and finalised her marriage with another man.

Neenu told the media on Sunday that her brother Shanu was among the men who abducted Kevin and Anish.

The abductors assaulted Kevin and Anish while they were being taken to Thenmala, in separate cars. Anish, who was let off later, was told by the abductors that Kevin had escaped. Anish who sustained injuries in the assault was admitted in the Government Medical College Hospital in Kottayam. One of the 11 suspects, identified as Ishal, was detained on Sunday.

The Gandhinagar Police had earlier summoned Kevin and Neenu following a petition filed by the latter’s family. Neenu informed the police that she wanted to live with Kevin. On Saturday, Kevin had shifted her to a hostel.

Police under scanner

Protests erupted on Monday against reported police inaction on Neenu’s petition. The purported killing, reported on the day of a byelection in Chengannur, is also morphing into a political issue with the Opposition Congress and the BJP highlighting the failure of the police, under Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan.

The state police is facing the heat over the death of S R Sreejith, who died in April after alleged custodial torture in Varappuzha in Ernakulam.

Gandhinagar Sub-Inspector M S Shibu, the member of a team who was assigned with security arrangements for the chief minister's Kottayam visit, is reported to have cited his assignment as a reason for not acting on Neenu’s petition.

Shibu has been suspended following a preliminary inquiry. Kottayam SP V M Mohammed Rafeeque has been transferred in the wake of the allegations. Sources in the chief minister’s office said four police squads under Kochi Range IG Vijay Sakhare were investigating the case in Kottayam and Kollam.

The Congress-led United Democratic Front and the BJP have called for a shutdown in Kottayam district on Tuesday, to protest police inaction. The incident has also set off a blame-game over the political affiliations of some of the suspects.

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Abducted by wife's kin, newly-wed man found dead in Kollam

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