Thiruvananthapuram: The National Dalit Christian Watch (NDCW), an ecumenical initiative for ensuring the rights and space for Dalit Christians, has suggested that the father and mother of Kevin should be provided with old age pension and other government privileges as they have lost the sole breadwinner.
The NDCW has prepared a report into the murder of Kevin P. Joseph after visiting his house in Kottayam. It may be recalled that his body was found in the Chaliyekara canal near Thenmala, Kollam, on May 28, a day after his wife Neenu filed a complaint about his kidnapping at the Gandhinagar police station.
The NDCW team, including Rev Dr. Vincent Manoharan, Ruth Manorama, Shibi Peter, Lovewin Cherian and Prof. George K. Alex among others, pointed out police negligence in handling the murder case from the beginning. The Gandhinagar police did not provide protection to Kevin when Neenu’s father threatened him in the police station itself. The police did not act quickly to secure Kevin when Neenu filed a complaint about his missing.
There is an ambiguity whether the police recorded the statement of Kevin’s family members, registered a separate case on the murder of Kevin or altered the initial sections mentioned in the FIR and carried investigations in this direction to punish the offenders, the report pointed out. Mr. Aneesh, a relative of Kevin, who was abducted and tortured along with Kevin, should be provided protection. The relief amo-unt of `10 lakh announced by the government to Kevin’s family is inadequate considering the loss of the bread winner of the family. Proper investigation should be pursued and the post- mortem report should be scrutinised without any room for suspicion for manipulation or tampering of facts, the report said.
Neenu and Kevin’s sister Kiruba should be given employment, it said. The state’s stand that this murder does not carry an element of caste and caste-based violence is not correct, the report said. The Church in general in Kerala should recognise that caste practices exist among its members which lead to this kind of violence of loss of life. The Church is expected to fulfil its role in upholding Christian teachings and Biblical values among its members for the Christian community to live a harmonious life with dignity, justice and Peace. The Church should also provide relief and emotional and Christian support to the family of Kevin. It should implement the Dalit empowerment policy of CBCI announced recently, the report pointed out.