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Kerala court gives death sentence to 15 PFI members in BJP leader Ranjith Sreenivasan murder case

A Kerala court today awarded death sentence to 15 members of the Popular Front of India (PFI) in connection to the murder of BJP leader Ranjith Sreenivasan. All the 15 accused, who are the members of the now banned PFI, and its political arm Social Democratic Party of India (SDPI), were convicted by the court on January 20. 

Additional Sessions Judge VG Sreedevi pronounced the sentence and awarded the death penalty. Reportedly, 12 of the accused were convicted under Section 302 (murder) read with Section 149 (unlawful assembly) of the IPC, the remaining three accused were convicted under Section 302 (murder) read with Section 120B (criminal conspiracy). 

The trial court noted that the BJP Leader was a philanthropist, a benefactor of the society and a good person by all means and a practicing lawyer, who was defenceless when attacked by the accused. 

The court noted that taking into consideration the brutality of the attack, the vulnerability of the victim and the diabolic notes, an act of perversion cumulatively would definitely justify the imposition of the death penalty. It also mentioned that the brutality of the murder was apparent from the manner in which the skull and the tooth of the victim were scattered following the attack mounted on him. The court underlined that the convicts were office bearers holding responsible posts in their PFI-SDPI, although it was banned by PFI itself. 

The judge said that the report of the state shows that the accused persons are hardcore criminals and that there is no chance for reformation as the convicts are very deeply interested in the affairs of the said organization. The judge added that in case such activities are allowed to continue in the society, it would definitely hamper the peace in the society. 

While imposing the death penalty, the court noted that the accused had believed that they were morally justified in committing the murder and that the chances of the accused indulging in crime in the future cannot be ruled out. 

Ranjith Sreenivasan, who was the State secretary of the BJP’s OBC Morcha and a lawyer, was hacked to death by the accused at his house at Vellakinar in Alappuzha municipality on December 19, 2021, in front of his mother and wife.

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