Thiruvananthapuram: The murder of an adivasi (tribal) man in Kerala by a mob led to wide protests in the state on Friday, even as police made the first arrests related to the heinous crime.
The murder happened on Friday close to Mukkali in the backward region of Attapady, where the young man identified as Madhu, 27 was beaten to death by local villagers. The youth died while being taken to hospital.
Police on Friday arrested two persons, K. Hussain and P.P. Karim in connection with the crime. Five others are being questioned by police, and early reports indicate that the mob that beat him up included 15 persons.
Protesters blocked the ambulance carrying Madhu’s body for post mortem, demanding that the real culprits behind the murder be arrested. Police then intervened and managed to free the ambulance to proceed to the Thrissur Medical College for post mortem.
The mob turned on Madhu and beat him up after it was alleged that he stole food from a local hotel.
The crowd handed him over to police after thrashing him, but he died while being taken to a hospital in Muttathara.
The inspector general of police based in Thrissur is leading the investigation into the case. Director-general of police, Loknath Behera said a special team would probe the youth’s death.
Kerala: Man dies after being tied up and thrashed by a mob in Palakkad district, people also took selfies after tying him up. Police register case pic.twitter.com/GGqisFy6Ve
— ANI (@ANI) February 23, 2018
The federal scheduled tribes’ commission described Madhu’s murder as “painful”. The commission said it would seek a report on the incident from the Kerala government, and visit the state if required.
Numerous people took to social media to condemn the tribal youth’s murder. Some of them blamed the declining law and order in the state, while one commented that it was an agonising irony that those who cheated public sector banks to the tune of billions of rupees roamed free while a famished youth who stole food was beaten to death.
— Mohandas Pai (@TVMohandasPai) February 23, 2018
Former chief minister Oommen Chandy said “Madhu’s murder is an incident that should not have happened in a state like Kerala”. He said his party colleagues in Attapady had informed him that Madhu stayed mostly in the forest, and that he had not stolen anything, but perhaps failed to convince the people who beat him to death.
The Bharatiya Janata Party called for a hartal (strike) in Mannarkad taluk on Saturday to protest the tribal’s killing.