Thiruvananthapuram

Seven DHRM activists get life term in Varkala murder

A district court here on Thursday sentenced seven Dalit Human Rights Movement (DHRM) activists to rigorous imprisonment for life after they were found guilty of the murder of a 60-year-old early morning walker Sivaprasad at Varkala in 2009

Additional Sessions Judge, Thiruvananthapuram, A. Badharudheen, slapped a fine of Rs.2.5 lakh on each of the accused. In the event of the default of payment of fine, they will have to undergo a further imprisonment of one year.

Those convicted are DHRM south-zone secretary Varkala Das of Cherinniyoor, State chairman Selvaraj of Aluva, DHRM activists Jayachandran of Perumbazha in Kollam, Madhu alias Saji of Cherinniyoor, Sudhi of Kollam, Sudha Sura of Varkala and Sunil alias Ponnumon of Ayiroor.

Two absconding

The police were yet to arrest the sixth accused in the case, Mukesh, and eleventh accused, Sajeev. The court have declared them absconders from law and issued non-bailable warrants for their custody.

The court acquitted six accused for want of evidence. They were Asokan, Suresh, Subash, Chandrasekharan, Binu and Prafulla Kumar. The prosecution submitted 163 documents, 76 material objects and 76 witnesses to bolster its case against the suspects.

Sivaprasad was murdered while out on an early morning walk at Ayiroor, a neighbourhood in Varkala on September 23, 2009. The murder had caused much public outcry in the district.

The retiree had no political affiliation or criminal record. The assailants were three men, all in black and wielding swords. They were travelling on a motorbike.

The prosecution case was that Sivaprasad was the chance victim of an attack orchestrated by the DHRM to scare their political detractors and establish street level dominance in the area. The locality had witnessed sporadic Shiv Sena-DHRM violence in the run-up to the crime.

The court heard that three teams, nine DHRM members in all, had set out on three motorbikes to find “targets of opportunity.” Two teams returned without finding any targets because of the rain that had dissuaded many from venturing out early. However, Sivaprasad’s assailants did find a second target, Asokan, a tea-seller.

He was attacked minutes after Sivaprasad was ambushed. The two crimes had for a brief period triggered a potentially violent caste-based social polarisation in Kollam and Thiruvananthapuram districts.

Additional Public Prosecutor Hashim Babu and his junior D.G. Rex prosecuted the case. Assistant Commissioner A.P. Anil Kumar investigated the crime. Sub-Inspector C. Mohanan aided the prosecution during trial.



Locality had witnessed Shiv Sena-DHRM violence

Incident had led to caste-based polarisation

Another man too came under attack on the day



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Printable version | Jun 9, 2021 8:04:18 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Thiruvananthapuram/seven-dhrm-activists-get-life-term-in-varkala-murder/article8421166.ece

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