Udayakumar’s mother Prabhavathi Amma said no other parent should suffer her fate. No court would pardon the men in uniform who killed her son for no fault of his.
Teary-eyed and mobbed by journalists, the 67-year-old woman looked up at the heavens with folded palms and said that “God has listened to a bereaved mother’s mournful prayers. They killed my son during an Onam 13 years ago. Now they will spend their Onam in prison. They killed an innocent man. Now they will spend their days under the sentence of death,” she said.
Prabhavathi Amma thanked the press for the outpouring of social support their coverage of the case had triggered. She singled out E.K. Raju of the Communist Party of India as her staunchest supporter.
Prabhavathi Amma’s determined and protracted battle for justice had caused her to become an almost iconic figure for human rights activists. Her gritty and fund-starved struggle had resonated strongly among the public.
Born into poverty, Prabhavathi Amma was abandoned by her husband when she was pregnant with her only son, Udayakumar. She washed dishes and worked as a helper at a school to provide for her child. They lived in a rented house in Karamana. Udayakumar worked with a scrap merchant. She said she always selected his shirts. On September 27, 2005, the police arrested Udayakumar along with one Suresh Kumar, a person with a criminal history of petty theft, on the suspicion that they were thieves.
The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) found that officers tortured Udayakumar in custody to extract a confession that the cash they found on him were proceeds from the sale of loot. The money turned out to be his festival wages.
Human rights activists welcomed the verdict and said they hoped the trial would serve as a template for several such cases.