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2018 Kerala Tribal Man Murder: 14 of 16 Accused Found Guilty of Lynching Madhu

Thirty-year-old Madhu died after he was beaten up by a gang of at least 15 men on the suspicion of stealing rice.

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Nearly five years after a 30-year-old tribal man named Madhu was allegedly lynched by a mob in Kerala's Attappadi, a special court in Palakkad district on Tuesday, 4 April, found 14 of the 16 accused guilty of the murder.

The Special Court for Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe in Mannarkkad will pronounce the sentence on Wednesday, 5 April.

The fourth and eleventh accused in the case – Aneesh and Abdul Kareem – were acquitted by the court, while all the other accused, including first-accused Hussain and second-accused Marakkar, were convicted of murder and under sections of The Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989.

The trial for the case commenced in June 2022 – four years after Madhu's death on 22 February 2018. He was allegedly beaten by the group on suspicion of stealing rice.

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What Happened?

According to Onmanorama, Madhu, who mostly resided in the forest, was reportedly captured from the cave, brutally assaulted, and paraded across a junction in Attappadi by the mob. He was accused of stealing rice from a grocery shop.

The accused took photos and videos of Madhu and uploaded them on social media. He was then handed over to the police, who took him to a hospital. The doctors at the hospital, however, declared him brought dead.

During the trial of the case, 129 witnesses were called, and out of them, 100 were examined. However, 24 of them turned hostile. The trial proceedings were overseen by the Kerala High Court, and Special Court Judge KM Ratheesh Kumar concluded the case.

Madhu's murder sparked massive public outrage in Kerala over the rights of tribal people and 'mob justice'. The Kerala government also came under fire for failing to appoint a public prosecutor on time.

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