Police on Saturday arrested 16 people on charges of lynching a mentally challenged tribal youth in Kerala’s Palakkad district after he allegedly pilfered food provisions from a store. The death of 30-year-old Madhu, who belongs to Kurumba tribal community, triggered outrage in Kerala.
The state government announced financial aid of Rs 10 lakh for the family of Madhu, who belonged to Kadukammana colony in Puthur panchayat. Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said the chief secretary was asked to ensure the release of the amount to the family at the earliest.
Union Tribal Affairs Minister Jual Oram Saturday said a report on the lynching has been sought from the state chief secretary. As the post-mortem report showed that Madhu died of brutal assault, police decided to slap murder charges against all the arrested persons. The post-mortem revealed that Madhu died due to internal bleeding in the brain caused by mortal assault behind the head. His ribs were broken, there was bleeding in the chest and internal organs were damaged.
Based on the post-mortem report, the case registered for unnatural death was changed to murder. The arrested will face sections 302, 364, 325, 323, 148, 147, 368, 143 read with 149 of IPC, sections under SC/ST Atrocities Prevention Act and section 27 (2) c of Kerala Forest Act.
The report submitted in court said the accused illegally trespassed into the forest and forcibly nabbed Madhu. The gang brutally assaulted him after tying his hands. Later, he was taken to Mukkali junction, where again the accused continued to assault Madhu after detaining him at a bus shelter.
Madhu’s sister Chandrika said the gang nabbed her brother from a cave in the forest region at Mukkali when he was cooking. Local forest officials had taken the gang to the forest and pointed at Madhu, she said. “If anyone wants to enter the forest, they need permission from the forest department. However, the forest officials allowed these people to enter the forest without permission,’’ she said.
Range IG M R Ajith Kumar said the forest officials’ role would be looked into. The police will also see whether sections of IT Act could be slapped against those who circulated visuals of the assault on social media, he said.
The arrested — Hussain Muhammed, 30, Marakar Uneen, 33, Shamsudheen Muhammed, 34, Aneesh Rajagopalan, 30, Radhakrishnan Balan, 34, Aboobacker Muhammed, 31, Sidique Sayed, 38, Ubaid Ummer, 25, Najeeb Latheef, 33, Jaiju Ayyappankutty, 44, Abdul Kareem, 48, Sajeev Raveendranath, 30, Satheesh Govindan, 39, Hareesh Sivaraman, 34, Biju Sivaraman, 41 and Muneer Latheef, 28 — hail from Mukkali near Attapadi.