A local court in Thalasserry — in Kerala’s Kannur district — awarded life sentence to 24 CPM workers on Wednesday for the murder of an elderly woman and a youth. The convicts were also slapped with a fine of Rs15,000 each. The court had earlier deferred the award of sentence to them to April 20. On May 23, 2002, the men had waylaid Ammukutty Amma, 70, and jeep driver Shihab, 23, as they were on their way back after attending the funeral of a murdered RSS activist. Both died on the spot. The attackers had mistaken them for RSS supporters. District and sessions judge N Thulsibhai sentenced 24 of the 25 accused. One of the accused is absconding.
The accused in the case were found guilty under various Sections of IPC including Section 302 (murder). The trial in the case began on August 18, 2007.
The politically volatile district had witnessed over 200 murders over the last two decades as a result of clashes between the CPM and the RSS. But this is the first time such a large number of people have been convicted for a political murder in the state.