KASARAGOD: All the six persons accused of murdering Sabith (18) were acquitted on Thursday, despite his friend Raees witnessing the crime and testifying in the court. Kasaragod Additional Sessions Judge Manohar Kini exonerated the accused for lack of evidence and gave them the benefit of doubt.
Seventh accused is a juvenile and his trial is yet to begin. A section of lawyers put the blame for the “zero conviction” squarely on the police.
“The court acquitted the accused saying the statement of the eyewitnesses is not credible,” said advocate and BJP state president P S Sreedharan Pillai, who represented them in the court.
Sabith and his friend Raees were waylaid and stabbed at Nullipady near JP Colony around 11.30 am on July 7, 2013, the police said. Raees managed to escape but Sabith died on his way to hospital. The police treated the murder as road rage and arrested seven persons, all RSS-BJP workers.
Those charged with the murder and abetment were K Akshay, 27, a resident of JP Colony, and K N Vaishakh, 25, of Kanhangad, Sachin Kumar, 22, of JP Colony, B K Pavan Kumar, 30, of Kelugudda, Dhananjayan, 28, of Konakkad, and R Vijeesh, 23.
According to the prosecution, Sabith and Raees were stabbed allegedly by Akshay and Vaishakh because they did not give way to them.
But lawyers including former public prosecutor C Sukkur said it was a clear case of hate crime. “When it comes to communal violence, the police have an almost zero conviction rate,” he said.
In recent past, Pillai said he took up four cases in which RSS-BJP workers were accused and procured 100 per cent acquittal in all of them. The cases involved the murder of Rishad, Mohammed Azharuddin (29), Mohammed Sinan, and lastly Sabith’s. In another case, Upenderan, an autorickshaw driver and worker of the BJP, was murdered. None of the accused was found guilty in that case either.