An armed gang of drug peddlers hacked to death a 23-year-old youth at their den near the railway track at Thumba on Saturday afternoon, the city police said.

A. Pramod Kumar, Circle Inspector, Medical College, identified the deceased as G. Anand, a college dropout. Mr. Pramod said ‘Blackie’ Shibu, an accused in several highway robbery and murder cases, and his gang were responsible for the youth’s murder.

Investigators, who talked to local people and eyewitnesses, said Anand had been a regular at Chitra Nagar colony, a poor coastal neighbourhood dominated by criminal gangs. Some of the gang members also visited the youth regularly, in the absence of his parents, at his house at Pangappara.

Mr. Pramod said Anand had purchased marijuana estimated at Rs.1,000 from the gang.

“The gangsters and the youth were on a high. An argument ensued as to whether Anand had paid for the drug or not. It led to an exchange of heated words, and Shibu and his men drew their machetes and hacked the youth to death,” he said. Local residents informed the police, who rushed the youth to hospital but to no avail. The police have counted eight injuries on the youth’s body, including two fatal ones to his head and neck. He had a clean police record and was known to be mild mannered, the officer said.

Keywords: youth murder