A poor tribal youth was brutally lynched on Thursday by a mob in Attappady, Kerala over suspicion of theft of food items. The victim, identified as 27 years old Madhu, is reported to be mentally challenged who maintained sparse contact with his family.
The mob, as per media reports, caught him near the Attappadi forest where he was allegedly hiding. But rather than handing over Madhu to the police for a proper investigation, the mob is reported to have brutally beat him before handing him over to the police. Madhu died due to injuries soon after.
Things were so brazen that one of the suspects even took a selfie with Madhu before lynching him:
A poor Adivasi tribal man from Attapadi tribal area was tied up and beaten to death…
The selfie they took before killing him… ???pic.twitter.com/KXvquENy4y
— DKris (@divekrish) February 22, 2018
Some media reports say that the victim was suspected by the mob of a house burglary three days ago, while others claim that he was suspected to have stolen a bag of rice. Reports also speculate that Madhu’s mental state rendered him unable to commit a crime.
When received by the police, Madhu was in a frail state. He collapsed and died when he was being taken to a Government Tribal Specialty Hospital, in a police jeep.
An attempt-to-murder charge has been registered in this matter against 15 suspects, with the assurance that further sections would be added once the autopsy report is out. Madhu’s body has been kept at the Government Taluk Hospital in Agali.
The barbaric incident shocked various Twitter users including Rajya Sabha MP Rajeev Chandrasekhar who slammed the violent politics of Kerala CM Pinarayi Vijayan:
I m saddened n angered at the brutal lynching of 27 yr old Vinod – a tribal young man from #Attapadi???- lynched n killed by a mob who took selfies bfr killing him !??
— Rajeev Chandrasekhar (@rajeev_mp) February 22, 2018
Sheer loss of humanity…this mentally retarded tribal youth was an orphan kind. Accused of stealing food articles from a shop in Attapadi tribal area in Palakkad Dt in Kerala. Obviously due to hunger..beaten mercilessly by locals…died during Police taking him to hospital ??https://t.co/nhm7UDA5hs
— J Gopikrishnan (@jgopikrishnan70) February 22, 2018
Some social media users later hunted down the alleged Facebook account of the selfie-taking suspect and identified him as someone named Ubaid. The Facebook profile of the suspect was flooded with comments of people condemning him for the act. However, the police have not confirmed the identity or arrested the suspect till this report was filed.
Update : Police arrested the selfie-taking fifth accused, Ubaid, on 26th February 2018, while the Muslim League tried to distance itself from the accused by saying he ‘only campaigned for them during elections’. Details can be read here.