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Dalit Christian killing: Kerala court defers verdict to Aug 22

twitter-logoPTI | August 14, 2019 | Updated 18:42 IST

Kottayam (Ker), Aug 14 (PTI) A court here on Wednesday deferred to August 22 the pronouncement of verdict in the case relating to killing of Kevin P Joseph, a Dalit Christian, allegedly by his wife's relatives. As the matter came up, the Principal Sessions Judge sought more clarity on the prosecution's argument that it was a case of honour killing after the defence countered it saying the victim and the accused follow the same faith. Kevin was abducted allegedly by a gang led by his wife Neenu Chacko's brother Sanu Chacko from Mannanam near here on May 27 last year. His body was found in a stream in Kollam district next day. Arguing that it was case of honour killing, the prosecution counsel said Kevin was murdered as he belonged to Dalit Christian community. The counsel said Kevin was not acceptable to Neenu's brother and father as he belonged to the so called "lower caste". The prosecution also referred to Neenu's statement before the court that it was a case of honour killing . It pleaded that the case be considered as a rarest of rare case and the accused be given maximum punishment. The counsel for the accused rejected the prosecution argument and claimed that Neenu's father had agreed to his daughter's marriage with Kevin. The defence counsel also said the honour killing argument will not sustain as both belonged to Christianity and follow the same faith. The court, after hearing both the sides, posted the case to August 22 for pronouncing the verdict. Earlier, the court had posted the case for pronouncement of judgement on August 14. During the trial which began three months ago, Kevin's family and witnesses had alleged that it was a case of honour killing. Deposing before the court, his wife Neenu had said her father Chacko had objected to her relationship with the man from Kottayam as he belonged to Dalit Christian community. There are 14 accused in the case. While her brother Sanu is the prime accused in the case, father Chacko is the fifth accused. The death of the 23-year-old man, who was abducted along with a relative from Mannanam in the district, had triggered widespread protests in the state. 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 complaint. The body of Kevin was found on May 28 last year in a stream in Chaliyakkara in Kollam district. The two had married at a registrar's office in Ettumanoor against the wishes of her family. PTI COR TGB ROH RT

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