Following the death of a Kerala tribal youth which drew a lot of criticism on social media, police took 10 persons in custody on Friday for questioning, including Ubaid TU – the man who took the selfie that went viral. Apart from the this, the police also named seven local residents in an FIR based on Madhu’s testimony before his death. Madhu was brutally lynched in Palakkad’s Attappadi on the suspicion of stealing food.
Two images of him were shared by actor Joy Mathew on social media. In the first image, Madhu can be seen staring vacantly to the right, injury marks on his lips, his shirt wide open. Then, there’s a selfie taken by a man wearing spectacles, a half-smile on his face, Madhu in the background with another man, his hands tied with his own clothes.
Even though he was rushed to the hospital immediately after the incident, Mahdu vomited inside the police jeep and passed away on his way to a local hospital. The police said that the 30-year-old succumbed to injuries sustained during the assault by the mob, which suspected him of stealing provisions from local shops in Mukkali, near the Silent Valley National Park.
Many prominent faces from Kerala including Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan have reacted to the incident. Vijayan described the incident as a ‘blot on Kerala’s progressive society’. Meanwhile, actor Mammootty took to his Facebook page and wrote, “Don’t call Madhu an adivasi. I would call him my younger brother… Don’t call a human being who steals (food) to remove his hunger a thief… Madhu, I am sorry.”
Protests meetings are being held across Kerala following Madhu’s death and the state human rights commission and the SC/ST commission have registered cases, with its members scheduled to visit Attappadi on Saturday.
According to a report by The Indian Express, the FIR filed in the case at Agali police station said that a group of seven local residents cornered Madhu inside the forest nearby, detained him at a bus shelter in Mukkali and informed police. It stated that when police arrived, Hussain Muhammed, Manu Damodaran, Abdul Rahman, Abdul Latheef, Abdul Kareem, A P Ummer and Mathachan Joseph pushed Madhu into the jeep along with a bag of rice, claiming that he had stolen it.