Kochi: Honor killings, unheard in Kerala, have made their way into the southern Indian state with the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) recording as many as five cases in since 2014.
Barely two months after the murder of a girl by her father, another gruesome case of honor killing has rattled the state. A newly wed youth, who was abducted by his wife’s family from Kottayam, was found dead further south in Kollam.
Kevin Joseph, a Dalit Christian, got married to a girl of an affluent Christian family on May 24. Kevin’s lower economic status reportedly came in the way of the love marriage. He was abducted by an armed group led by the girl’s brother Shanu Chacko on May 27 morning. Kevin’s body was found near a canal at Thenmala in Kollam district on May 28
The youth, who had gone to a relative’s home immediately after his marriage , was dragged out of the house early Sunday morning and taken away. Although Neenu and Kevin’s parents reached the Gandhi Nagar police station, Kottayam, pleading for quick action to trace him, the police refused to respond.
Neenu’s statement that the police had cited Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan’s impending public programme as an excuse not to trace her husband became a poll issue on Chengannur by-election day. The police attempted a fire-fighting operation by suspending Sub Inspector, Gandhi Nagar station, M.S. Shibu. They also removed V.M. Muhammad Rafik, District Police Chief of Kottayam.
Senior officials said the police appeared not to have pursued an active kidnapping case in which the complainant was the hostage’s wife.
They did not immediately register a case nor sound a Statewide alert for the vehicles carrying the abductors. Officials said it was not clear whether the Sub Inspector of Police had informed his superiors of the gravity of the case and its societal implications. The law required officers to give high priority to social crimes such as honour killings and dowry murders. However, the police appeared not to have followed the rule in the case of the hapless couple in Kottayam.
The incident has triggered massive protests against the police. The image of the Kerala police has taken yet another severe beating with the abduction and killing of Kevin. The incident has triggered massive protests against the police.
Earlier this month, the police lost face over the delay to prosecute a child abuse case in Edappal in Malappuram despite receiving visual evidence. Last month, a mistaken arrest in a armed trespass case at Varappuzha in Ernakulam resulted in the death of a blameless youth in police custody, with allegations that an illegally constituted special team of the Aluva Rural police had beaten up the youth. He breathed his last the following day due to fatal injuries to his intestines.
According to the NCRB records, there have been five honour killing cases — three murders and two cases of culpable homicide not amounting to murder — registered in Kerala between 2014 and 2016.
Psychiatrist C J John said these instances are also a warning sign of the communal divide existing in the socio-political scenario of the state.