Newly married man abducted by gang, found dead in Kerala

The death of the 23-year-old man, who was kidnapped along with a relative, has triggered widespread protests by his family members.

Kottayam/Thiruvananthapuram: In a suspected case of honour killing, a newly married man, allegedly abducted by a gang of criminals sent by his wife's relatives, was found dead in a stream near Thenmala in Kollam district on Monday, police said.

The death of the 23-year-old man, who was kidnapped along with a relative from Mannanam in the district, has triggered widespread protests by his family members. The victim's kin alleged that Kevin P Joseph died due to police laxity as it refused to institute an investigation on the basis of his wife's complaint on Sunday.

The body of Kevin was found this morning in a stream in Chaliyakkara, some 20 km away from Thenmala in Kollam district.

A case has been registered against 10 unidentified persons in connection with the incident. Kevin and his relative Aneesh were abducted early on Sunday from the latter's residence by a gang that arrived in three vehicles. Aneesh was later abandoned by the gang on the wayside after brutal torture.

He is currently admitted to the Government Medical College Hospital here. Kevin, who was in love with the woman studying in a college in Kottayam, married her at a registrar's office in Ettumanoor recently against the wishes of her family. Both Kevin and the woman were summoned to the Gandhinagar police station based on her family's complaint.

The woman, however, preferred to go with her husband. Kerala Human Rights Commission said it was suspected to be a case of honour killing and ordered the state police chief to submit a report in three weeks if there was any negligence from the side of the police in investigating the case.

Heads started to roll soon after the incident with Sub Inspector M S Shibu and Grade ASI Sunnymon of the Gandhinagar police station suspended by Ernakulam Range IG Vijay Sahkare for their laxity.

Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan described the incident as "unfortunate" and said it should not have happened. Police in Kottayam and Thenmala in Kollam, from where the body was recovered, were investigating the case and all efforts were being made to nab the accused as early as possible, he said.

Besides, a Special Investigation team will also probe the crime, he added. Vijayan also denied reports that police showed laxity in investigating the case initially. Leader of Opposition in the assembly, Ramesh Chennithala, attacked Vijayan, who is also holding the Home portfolio, over the incident.

He urged Vijayan to quit the Home portfolio in view of such incidents in the state due to "inefficient policing." The BJP has called for a dawn-to-dusk hartal in Kottayam district on Tuesday in protest against the incident.

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