PALAKKAD: The death of a tribal youth, Madhu, after being beaten up by the local residents on the charge of stealing provisions including rice from the shops has caused an outrage on the social media.
Seven persons, including two who allegedly had a direct role in the yesterday's incident, had been detained, police said.
Tribals and human rights activists staged protests in various parts of the state after photos and visuals of the fatal attack went viral on social media besides being telecast by TV channels.
Cases have been registered by the Agali police against the youths who posted images on the social media stating that they have finally arrested the robber. They are seen questioning him after tying up his hands with a lungi.
On Thursday, some people from nearby forest waylaid Madhu, 27, son of Mallan, while he was carrying rice to his house. They allegedly tied up Madhu and beat him with sticks before handing him over to the police.
According to the sources, the youth began vomiting in the police vehicle while being taken to the police station, and though he was taken to the hospital by the police, he was declared brought dead.
The local residents said that provisions and rice used to be stolen from the shops periodically and the CCTV images had shown a person resembling Madhu to be behind it.
Meanwhile, Malli, mother of Madhu said that everyone together beat her son and killed him. She said that Madhu was living in the forests fringes for the last nine months and used to eat whatever he got from the forests. She said that her son would never steal anything. She demanded strict action against those responsible for the killing.
The relatives of Madhu has already stated that they will not cremate the body till those responsible for the death are arrested and brought to book.
The body has been kept at the Kottathara tribal hospital. The post-mortem will be conducted at the Thrissur medical college.
The police said that only after the post-mortem report is released will they be able to say what was the cause of the death.
Adivasi organisations also conducted a march to the Agali police station to protest against the incident.
Meanwhile, chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan has strongly condemned the murder of the tribal youth and assured the sternest action against the culprits. "I've asked the police chief to take all steps to book the culprits. The culprits will not be asked to get away. This murder is shocking and is not befitting a civilized society," the CM said.
State police chief Loknath Behera said a special investigation team had been set up to probe the incident and Thrissur Range IG would oversee it.
The deceased, suspected to be mentally unsound, hailed from Kadukumanna settlement of Attappady, one of the largest and most backward tribal hamlets in the state, police said.
State Minister for SC/ST Welfare A K Balan said a magisterial probe would be conducted into the incident and the government would extend all help to the victim's family.
Senior Congress leader A K Antony said the exemplary punishment should be meted out to the accused and the state government should give compensation to Madhu's kins.
Terming the incident as "shocking" and 'shameful', leader of the opposition in the assembly Ramesh Chennithala alleged the law and order situation had collapsed in the state.
Meanwhile, Congress-led UDF and BJP have called for a dawn-to-dusk hartal in Mannarcaud in Palakkad district tomorrow over the incident.
(With inputs from PTI)