Kevin Joseph honour killing: UDF stalls Kerala Assembly, seeks CBI investigation

Thiruvananthapuram:  Kerala Assembly witnessed an impasse on Monday following the alleged incident of honour killing of a Dalit Christian man last month with the Opposition disrupting the proceedings to press its demand for a CBI probe. The Congress-led Opposition United Democratic Front (UDF) members, who entered the House carrying placards with slogans against Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan and police written on them, alleged that "laxity and lapse" on the part of the local police had resulted in the gruesome killing of 23-year-old Kevin P Joseph.

File Image of Kevin Joseph. Naveen Nair

File Image of Kevin Joseph. Image courtesy Naveen Nair

Joseph was abducted on 27 May from Kottayam by a gang allegedly hired by his fiancee's family, who were opposed to their marriage. His body was recovered from a river in Kollam district the next day. Coming down hard on the police, Opposition leader Ramesh Chennithala said lapses by the law enforcers had become a "daily affair" since the LDF came to power. "Kevin's was a cold-blooded murder and police was not prepared to register the case even after his family members came to the police station and informed them about his abduction", he said. Alleging that the police was hand in glove with the accused, Chennithala said there were serious lapses even on the part of senior officers.

"Since we don't have confidence in Kerala police, the investigation should be handed over to the CBI", he demanded. Virtually rejecting the Opposition's demand, the chief minister said that a special team led by range IG Vijay Sakhare was investigating the case and that the probe was proceeding in the right direction. He said stringent action would follow. Altogether 14 people have been arrested and remanded in the case so far, he said, adding action was also taken against police officials for dereliction of duty. He admitted that the local police had initially not handled the case with the seriousness it required.

"The government will not protect any police officer who failed to take immediate action. More tough measures will follow", Vijayan said. He also criticised the Opposition for trying to "politicise" the incident, which should not have happened in a progressive state like Kerala. The chief minister rejected the allegation by Congress member Thiruvanchoor Radhakrishnan that a junior doctor had conducted the post-mortem examination of the slain man.

Seeking admission of his notice for adjournment of the House and holding a discussion on the issue, Radhakrishnan alleged that police was trying to tamper with evidence and sabotage the investigation. As Speaker P Sreeramakrishnan rejected the notice, Opposition members trooped into the well of the House, raising slogans against the government.

With his repeated requests for restoring order falling on deaf ears, the Speaker adjourned the House for the day after taking up some items listed on the agenda.

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Updated Date: Jun 04, 2018 16:09:50 IST

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