The 1992 SSLC batch of the Mekkat Higher Secondary School, Madikkai, is on a mission — to free their schoolmate serving a 12-year prison term in a Japanese prison since 2009.
They claim that 35-year-old Mahendra Kumar, hailing from Adukkathuparamba in Madikkai, was falsely implicated in an attempt-to-murder case in Japan. Efforts by his aged parents to secure his release have failed to yield results.
Kumar’s former schoolmates will meet at their school on November 17, the day he was sent to jail in 2009, to chalk out their future course of agitation. “We will hold a march to the Collectorate shortly,” action committee convener V. Nandakumar, a Merchant Navy employee, told The Hindu.
“My son did not get a fair trial,” said K.V. Lakshmi, the 61-year-old mother of Kumar. She said Kumar, who was running a flourishing hotel business at Morokawa, was asked by a friend to mediate in an issue involving some Indians on March 3, 2008. The parties were armed and they targeted each other, causing injuries, she said. Since the perpetrators, who were holding forged documents, scampered to avoid legal wrangles, the police probe focused on Kumar, Lakshmi said.
“He was arrested as the gang leader. What about the other gang members? None were convicted,” she said. Four of those involved had in a solemn affidavit before the High Court of Tokyo pleaded Kumar’s innocence and had clarified that they escaped trial fearing punishment, K.V. Venugopal, Kumar’s brother, who was working in Japan at that time, said. The case went against Kumar apparently owing to lack of effective communication during the trial, he said.
Lakshmi and K. V. Kumaran, parents of Kumar, had travelled to Delhi to meet the then President Pratibha Patil, officials at the Prime Minister’s Office and Union Ministers to solicit support for their son.
His family, in a writ petition filed before the Kerala High Court on September 3, 2012, had sought the court to direct the Centre to intervene for the early release of the youth. However, the matter is still pending disposal. K. Rajeevan, a senior member of the Hosdurg Bar, who had been rendering free legal assistance to the family, called upon the Centre to explore options for an early release or arranging parole or even a prisoner-exchange as a special case.