The Special Court for Exclusive Trial of cases under SC/ST (PoA) Act in Sivaganga heard the 27 convicts and the families of the victims in the 2018 Kachanatham murder case through video-conferencing on Wednesday. The Special court will now pronounce the quantum of sentence on August 5.
The Special Court judge decided to conduct the hearing on the quantum of sentence through video-conferencing considering the law and order situation and following a request from the Sivaganga Superintendent of Police. Police personnel were posted outside the court as a precautionary measure to prevent any untoward incident.
On May 28, 2018, three members of a Scheduled Caste were murdered and many sustained grievous injuries when a group of people from the dominant community attacked them with deadly weapons following a dispute over presenting temple honours in Kachanatham. Three persons K. Arumugam, A. Shanmuganathan and V. Chandrasekhar were hacked to death.
Special Court Judge G. Muthukumaran convicted 27 accused in the case on Monday. A total of 33 people, including four juveniles, from a dominant community were named as accused in the case. One person is absconding and one person died during the trial in the case. The families of the victims want death sentence to be imposed on the convicts
During the course of the hearing, Special Public Prosecutor P. Chinnaraja submitted that the members of the dominant community had committed a heinous crime. He submitted that maximum punishment should be imposed on the convicts. He pointed out that the convicts had threatened the families of the victims.
Appearing for the families of victims, advocate Bhagavath Singh submitted that the offence was not committed due to any provocation of any kind from the victims. Rather the victims were targeted when they approached the State machinery for justice and security against the longstanding atrocities committed by the accused persons.
In 2019, the Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court observed that the brutality with which the crime was committed by a mob from the dominant community had a telling effect on the peace and tranquillity of society at large, while dismissing criminal appeals filed by some of the accused who challenged an order of the Special Court that denied them bail.