Kerala tribal youth's death: Ten in custody after selfie with victim spurs outrage on social media

Members of Adivasi organisations blocked the ambulance ferrying Madhu’s body from Kottathara Tribal Hospital to Thrissur Medical College.

Published: 24th February 2018 02:12 AM  |   Last Updated: 24th February 2018 10:11 AM   |  A+A-

Man's selfie with the victim, Madhu, that went viral on social media. (Photo | Facebook)

By Express News Service

PALAKKAD: Ten persons have been taken into custody in connection with the death of Madhu, a tribal youth who was lynched by a mob for allegedly stealing provisions. The arrest will be recorded on Saturday.

Members of Adivasi organisations blocked the ambulance ferrying Madhu’s body from Kottathara Tribal Hospital to Thrissur Medical College. They said the postmortem should be conducted only after all the accused are arrested

The UDF and BJP have called a 12-hour hartal in Mannarkad taluk on Saturday The Kerala State Commission for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (KSCSCST) and the Kerala State Youth Commission have registered a suo motu case. The KSCSCST has directed the Palakkad district collector, district police chief, DMO and  project officer (ITDP, Agali) to file a report. In his dying statement, Madhu had said he was kicked by a mob.

A lot of instances are coming to light in the state in which local people are seen taking law in their hands. It is not a good tendency. In fact, it is illegal and not suitable for a modern society. The public should cooperate with the police force in dealing with such crimes  Loknath Behera, DGPa blot on kerala.

Local people and Adivasis squatting on the road and blocking the ambulance carrying the body of Madhu to the Thrissur Medical College demanding the arrest of those responsible for the death. (EPS)

I want to assure you that stringent action will be taken at the earliest against all the culprits to ensure such crimes, especially against people from communities which have for long been marginalised, are not repeated. Pinarayi Vijayan, CM.

None of the culprits will be spared and strong action will be taken. Step will be taken to ensure that hereafter no one dares to do such things. A K Balan, Tribal Welfare Minister.

According to SP Pratheesh Kumar, eight suspects have been identified and more will be taken into custody.  Those taken into custody were being questioned and the arrests will be recorded on Saturday. He said cases will be registered against those who assaulted Madhu, took selfies and posted them on social media.

He said the inquest report showed no external injuries and finer details will be known only after the post-mortem report is received from Thrissur Medical College.Those taken into custody include K Hussein, the owner of the shop in Paakulam from which provisions were reportedly stolen. At least 15 people were involved in the assault, the police said. In his dying statement, Madhu has said that he was kicked and beaten by a mob.  Thrissur Range IG M R Ajith Kumar is probing the case.

Meanwhile, the UDF and the BJP have called for a 12-hour hartal in Mannarkad taluk on Saturday to protest against Madhu’s lynching.Local residents and members of Adivasi organisations blocked the ambulance ferrying Madhu’s body from Kottathara tribal hospital to Thrissur Medical College. They demanded that the post-mortem should be conducted only after all the accused are arrested.

Collector P Suresh Babu and SP Kumar held talks with the protesters. Once they revealed that two men have been arrested, the ambulance was allowed to proceed. On Thursday, some people waylaid Madhu, 27, who was carrying rice to the place were he was living on the fringes of the forest. He was staying at a rocky place and never used to visit his house as he was mentally unstable.

The locals said that provisions and rice used to be stolen from the shops periodically and the CCTV footage had shown a person resembling Madhu to be the culprit.They reportedly beat him up and later handed him over to the police. Madhu began vomiting in the police vehicle while being taken to the station. Though he was taken to the hospital by the police, he was declared brought dead.

‘My son never stole anything’

Madhu’s mother Malli said many people, including auto and taxi drivers, beat her son and killed him. She said Madhu had been living on the outskirts of the forest for the past nine months and used to eat whatever he got from the forest. She said her son never stole anything. She demanded strict action against the culprits. Adivasi organisations took out a march in Agali on Friday to protest against the incident. Madhu’s sister Sarasa, who took part in the protest, felt giddy and fell down. She was admitted to the Kottathara tribal hospital.

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