Thiruvananthapuram (Kerala): As many as seven Dalit Human Rights Movement (DHRM) workers were on Thursday sentenced to seven years of rigorous imprisonment in the Varkala Sivaprasad murder case.
60-year old Sivaprasad was out on a morning walk on September 23, 2009 when he was attacked by the gang.
A tea seller, Ashokan, was also attacked by the gang but he survived.
Police had registered two separate FIRs but the court decided to try both the cases together.
Those found guilty yesterday include DHRM state chairman Selvaraj, south zone organizer Das, Jayachandran, Madhu, Sudhi, Sunil and Sudhi.
The police had filed a chargesheet against 16 persons but only 13 faced the trial. Of these, six persons accused of conspiracy – Ashokan, Suresh, Subhash, Chandrasekharan, Binu and Prafullakumar — were acquitted of the charges for want of evidence.
Two accused — Mukesh and Sajeev – are absconding in the case while another accused Anil Kumar died a day before the trial commenced.
The prosecution case was that the DHRM activists carried out the attack to show their organizational strength.
Their plan was to slay all non-dalits whom they came across on the way and they had set out scouting the Ayiroor region on motorcycles in small groups.
There were only a few people on the road since it was raining that morning. Besides attacking Sivaprasad and Ashokan, they had chased a retired soldier, Anil Kumar.