Kevin and Aneesh; Victims of Caste in Kerala

Rejaz M Sydeek

When Neenu Complained along with Kevin’s Family at Gandhinagar Police Station, Kottayam on May 26 2018 that 24-year-old Dalit Christian Kevin was abducted from Kevin’s house by Latin Catholic 21-year-old Neenu’s brother and relatives including DYFI leaders after Neenu and Kevin filed a joint application for marriage registration on May 24th, the police didn’t pay attention and refused to intervene even on the 2nd day(26 May) citing VIP duty for Pinarayi Vijayan’s Visit. On March 28, Kevin’s body was found in a Canal at Kollam after being murdered because of his caste & class. Neenu testified against her casteist brother, parents and relative and court convicted her brother and his relatives for the murder. The Police officers who stood with Neenu’s family was suspended for namesake. Neenu is still living in Kevin’s house with his immortal memories ❤️

But the honour killing didn’t end in Kerala. After 2 years, yesterday we heard another case of Honour Killing from the news. In BJP’s Gujarat version of Kerala, Palakkad, on 25 December, 27-year-old Aneesh a youngster from lower caste was hacked to death using sword by his father in law, Prabhu Kumar and Haritha’s uncle, Suresh when Aneesh and his brother was travelling on a bike. 20-year-old Haritha belongs to Vellalar Pillai community which got roots in Tamil Nadu and is dominant when compared to Aneesh’s Kollan community. Aneesh and Haritha who fell love in their school days got married exactly three months ago and Haritha’s father had threatened them that he would not allow them to live together for more than 3 months as they belong to different castes. Apart from the caste angle, there is another common factor in both of the incidents. Aneesh’s father Arumugam told media that Haritha’s father and uncle have threatened the family several times at their house and once her drunk uncle barged into their house and misbehaved with family members. The family complained to the nearby police station but the police neglected and cited that they were busy with Election Duty.

Look, in both cases, the negligence or Purposeful lack of interest shown by Kerala State Police lead to the murder of Kevin and Aneesh. If Police had intervened on the right time, Kevin would be with Neenu now and Aneesh with Haritha. Are the Police scared of Upper Caste and class people or is their job to protect the interests of Upper caste? Neenu has told that police officers abused her and pushed Kevin when Police called them and Neenu’s family to station on 24th May. In both Cases, Everything was solved between the Casteist family and the victims family in presence of Police at the station for namesake but the threats to the life of Aneesh and Kevin continued even after the marriage and police were aware of the threats. We all have discussed and shared news on Casteist atrocities unleashed by Police on citizens and even Police officers have accused their colleagues of Casteist discrimination. Brahmanism/ Casteism is prevalent in all Indian Religions from Christianity to Islam also. It’s to be noted that even lower caste/OBC people practise casteism among them and subjugates people who are lower than them. More than the economical or class difference, it’s the caste difference which drives them to commit these honour killings. Neenu’s mother is from Islam community and father from Latin Catholic, but when their daughter chose a Dalit Christian who converted into Christianity from being “Dalit”, their pseudo-secularism and Casteism got triggered! The upper caste Christian father of Neenu planned and gave permission to kill his son in law and Neenu’s cousins from her maternal side helped Neenu’s brother. In forming the ideas of society, the state has got a responsibility. Whichever Political party is ruling, The public consciousness remains the same, because they never attack the ruling ideas formed by the ruling class. In case of Palakkad, where settlements are based on Caste, Putting up National Flag in place of Jai Shri ram won’t even tickle the Casteist mindset of these people. Even Parliamentary Left party, CPI(M) has equated the Agraharams of Brahmins with the colonies of Dalits during house visits in Agraharams for appeasing upper-caste Hindus in wake of 2019 Lok Sabha Defeat.

The ruling government itself uses the word “Chetatharam” (ചെറ്റത്തരം) as abuse, so how can we expect their police to treat Dalits and lower caste people? Pinarayi Vijayan has used that word quite often against his political opponents. How is Chetta ചെറ്റ (the modest dwelling of the poor who are Dalits) seen as abuse in Kerala? Chettakal means people who live in those but here Chettakal is used as abuse and chettatharam is seen as a low level or below the standard level shown by chetakkal. It’s the upper caste Nair community and other Casteist people who used the word “Chettakal and Chetatharam” as Casteist slur and later it became part of Malayali Conscience, but people who are politically educated also use it purposefully. When a Chief Minister and PB member of CPIM himself is promoting Casteism, how can we expect the State Police not to be feudal? When marginalised People goes to the police station for registering a complaint, they are like made to bow/beg before the officers just like Dalit labourers did before brahmin landlords. When we plan of eradicating Casteism, we should start from the people in power and their suppressing tool, Police.

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