Indian man victim of ‘honor killing,’ furious locals accuse police of turning blind eye

Kevin Joseph, 23, was dragged out of his relative’s house in the southern state of Kerala the day after his wedding to 21-year-old Neenu Chacko. He was abducted, along with one of his relatives, with the latter eventually set free by the abductors, according to The Hindu. 

Joseph was found dead in a canal on Monday, just days after his wedding to 21-year-old Neenu Chacko, after going missing from the southern state of Kerala.

A post-mortem released on Wednesday showed he suffered 15 separate injuries to his body. However, none of those were deemed fatal, and Joseph was found to have ultimately died by drowning. 

The bride’s wealthy family is believed to be behind the death, as they disapproved of her marriage to Joseph, who was from India’s lowest caste, known as Dalits. Also referred to as “untouchables,” Dalits are often the targets of attacks in India. 

Joseph came from a family of converted Christians, while his wife comes from an inter-religious family of a Catholic father and a Muslim mother, according to The Hindu. 

The father and brother of Joseph’s wife, John and Shanu Chacko, were detained after surrendering to police, according to The Times of India. A third person was also detained after surrendering on Wednesday. Six others still remain at large.

It has also emerged that two policemen may have played a role in Joseph’s disappearance and killing. They were taken into custody and questioned on Wednesday. 

Following Joseph’s disappearance, the 23-year-old’s bride, along with his family, pushed for authorities to search for him. However, Gandhi Nagar police reportedly refused to do so.

That refusal prompted activists from Dalit organizations and local politicians to stage a sit-in at the police station, demanding action against officials who disregarded pleas to search for Joseph. Outraged members of the community also joined.

The Indian government recorded 251 cases of honor killings in 2015, which typically occur after a person has been deemed to have brought shame upon their family in some way. However, the actual numbers of honor killings are likely much higher, as many local authorities record such deaths in the larger murder category.

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