Kasaragod police, prosecution draw blank in three more political killings

Court acquits 14 accused in three cases; zero conviction in at least seven political, communal murder cases in Kasaragod.

Published: 24th June 2020 11:55 PM  |   Last Updated: 24th June 2020 11:55 PM   |  A+A-

Kasaragod Police test a drone for surveillance of movement during lockdown. (Photo | Twitter)

Express News Service

KASARAGOD: The Kasaragod police and the prosecution drew a blank in three murder cases on
Wednesday, with the court acquitting all 14 of the accused.

According to court officials, the witnesses had turned hostile in all the three cases. However, the
acquittals are in line with the Kasaragod police's 'zero conviction' rate when it comes to political or communal murders over the last few years.

On Wednesday, the additional sessions court acquitted 14 accused in the murder cases of B Sandeep, a BJP supporter, Abdul Sattar, and C Narayanan, a CPM supporter.

The eight accused persons in the murder case of Sandeep, a native of Nellikkunnu, were Mohammed Rafeeq, 35, of Povval, Sahil Khan, 35, of Fort Road, P A Abdul Rahman, 48, of 4th Mile in Chengala, Abdul Sattar, 42, of Vidyanagar, K M Abdul Aslam, 38, of Thaivalappu near Chengala, M Harris, 38, and Mohammed Rafi, 40, of Ulliyathadka in Madhur panchayat, and Shabeer, 36, of Anangoor
in Kasaragod town.

Sandeep was among the three persons murdered within four days amid a communal frenzy in the district in April 2008.

On April 14, a Vishu Monday in 2008, a group of BJP supporters got down from their car to urinate near the new bus stand area in Kasaragod.

However, someone objected to this because there was a mosque nearby, which led to an altercation. A
mob gathered and Sandeep was stabbed. He died on the way to the hospital.

The incident triggered a series of murderous attacks in the district.

The next day, April 15, the BJP called for a hartal, and some Muslim youths were waylaid and attacked at Karanthakad, a bastion of the BJP-RSS.

A few kilometres away at Mogral, two BJP workers Krishna Prasad and Chandrahasa Acharya were stabbed.

On Wednesday, April 16, Mohammed Sinan, a teenager on a motorcycle, was stabbed to death at Anebagilu, another BJP pocket.

All the accused in the case were acquitted.

On Thursday, April 17, P Suhas, an advocate and trade union leader of the RSS, was stabbed to death in Kasaragod. The case is under way in Thalassery court, but lawyers close to the investigation said the prosecution's case is weak.

"Don't be surprised if all the accused are acquitted in this case too," said a lawyer.

A day after Suhas was murdered, one C M Mohammed Kunhi, 55, was hacked to death at Adkathbail in Kasaragod town on Friday, April 18, 2008.

He was the president of the Adkathbail Bilal Mosque.

On Wednesday, the Kasaragod additional sessions court acquitted three accused in the murder of DFYI leader Abdul Sattar, 32.

He was stabbed to death near his house at Sonkal in Uppala on December 21, 2008. Three persons who were charged with his murder -- Mohammed Farooq, 37, a resident of Uppala, Ibrahim Khalil (32), a resident of Sonkal, and Sainuddin -- were let off by the court owing to lack of evidence.

The court also acquitted the accused in the murder case of CPM worker C Narayanan, 45. He was stabbed to death allegedly by three BJP supporters on Onam day on August 28, 2015.

Sreenath, 36, a BJP activist of Kodom-Belur, was arrested based on the eyewitness account of  C Aravindan, younger brother of Narayanan, who was also stabbed in the attack.

The other two accused were Vijayan and Pushparaj. The court acquitted all three.

Call for a special wing

Advocate A N Ashok Kumar, the special public prosecutor in the Sandeep murder case, said the witnesses turned hostile jeopardising the delivery of justice. But he also blamed the frequent change in the investigating officer for the outcome.

"Sandeep's case was investigated by four officers," he said, and urge the government to set up a special wing to investigate serious crimes and murders.

"Karnataka has the CID and Tamil Nadu has the Q Branch to investigate murders. Our officers have to manage law and order and investigate serious crimes.

They are exposed to influence too," said Kumar, who is also a BJP leader. C Shukkur, a leading lawyer in Kasaragod and CPM sympathiser, said he submitted a petition to the government for a special wing to probe political and communal murders.

"Such a wing should be sanctioned at least for the Kasaragod division, where such crimes are not uncommon," he said.

In May 2019, the sessions court acquitted all the seven accused in the murder case of Sabith, 18, a textile shop salesperson. He was stabbed to death on July 7, 2013. Though police treated it as a case of road rage, advocate Shukkur said it was a hate crime.

The then BJP state president P S Sreedharan Pillai appeared for the accused. Pillai was the defence lawyer in four murder cases -- Sabith, Mohammed Sinan, Mohammed Azharuddin, 29, and Rishad -- where RSS-BJP workers were accused. He got 100 per cent acquittal in all the cases.

When it comes to communal murders, Kasaragod police have zero conviction rate, said Shukkur.

According to the Kerala Police Act, a committee headed by the District Police Chief should go through all the cases where there is no conviction and hold the investigating officers concerned accountable.

"But the committee hardly meets," he said.

When contacted, District Police Chief Shilpa Dyavaiah said Wednesday's three cases were old but the officers were thorough with the recent murder cases. "In the Riyas Maulavi murder case, the High Court rejected the bail plea of the accused. We vigorously opposed the plea," she said. The accused will be brought to justice, she said.

Riyas, 32, a madrasa teacher and native of Kodagu, was stabbed to death inside Mujahideen Jumma Masjid compound at Choori in Madhur panchayat on March 20, 2017. Three accused -- all BJP-RSS workers -- were arrested. The investigating officer A Srinivas had called it a hate crime and submitted the charge sheet in 89 days.


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