Swami Vivekananda Kerala a ‘lunatic asylum’ 125 years ago because of its stringent caste system. It seems it holds true in more than one sense after the ‘honour killing’ of a young dalit bridegroom, Kevin P. Joseph, in Kottayam.
Kevin and Neenu, a second year B.Com student had got married at a civil marriage ceremony on May 24. Neenu’s family had tried to take her away with the help of the police, but she returned and took a room at a women’s hostel . Kevin, apparently fearing attack from Neenu’s relatives, had gone to a relative’s house after leaving her at the hostel.
In the early hours of Sunday, the youth was dragged out of the house and taken in a car along with one of his relatives, who was later released by the abductors.
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. By Monday morning, Kevin’s body was found in a canal at Thenmala in Kollam, from where Neenu hails, leaving the police scurrying for explanations.
It is reported that Neenu and Kevin’s parents gave the police the mobile number of the abductors. The police did not accept the complaint saying that they had ‘VIP duty’ to arrange the security of Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, who was visiting the city on that day. If the police had acted quickly and sounded a statewide alert, the youth’s life could have been saved and the culprits nabbed.
The murder has triggered a huge debate about the State’s achievements in social inclusion as the deceased youth, Kevin belonged to a family of dalit Christians and his wife Neenu Chacko belonged to the family of an inter-religious married couple, her father a Catholic and mother a Muslim.
Sub Inspector MS Shibu has been suspended from service for the alleged negligence in investigating Kevin’s wife’s complaint. Kottayam SP Muhammad Rafeeq has been transferred in connection with the incident.