Kerala Police charged sixteen people with murder on Saturday in connection with the death of an adivasi man in Attapaddy a day earlier. All sixteen have been arrested in connection with murder and under the Scheduled Castes and Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, police told

Meanwhile, the Centre has sought a report about the attack from the Left Democratic Front-led state government.

The residents of Agali town had accused the man A Madhu, who lived in the Kadukumanna tribal hamlet, of theft. They beat him brutally before handing him over to the police. Madhu died on the way to the hospital. The postmortem report indicated that the victim died of the injuries sustained during the brutal attack.

The Kerala government on Friday ordered a magisterial inquiry into his assault and death, The Hindu reported. Kerala Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes Minister AK Balan said that a magistrate would conduct the inquiry. He added that he would visit Kadukumanna on Saturday to meet Madhu’s family, and promised them compensation.

The National Human Rights Commission, National Commission for Scheduled Tribes, the Kerala State Human Rights Commission, and the Kerala Commission for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes have all demanded reports from the police about the incident.

The Kerala Police on Friday arrested two individuals from Mukkali village in Palakkad district in connection with the murder. Deputy Superintendent of Police N Subrahmaniyan said that the cause of death could only be ascertained after the autopsy report came in.

He said that Madhu suffered from a mental illness and used to live in forests and caves. At night, he used to steal rice from shops, and a case of theft was pending against him. “On Wednesday, he stole rice from a store at Kalkkanda,” Subrahmaniyan added, which was why the mob attacked him.

Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan condemned the attack and said efforts were on to ensure such incidents did not happen again. The state government has announced an ex-gratia amount of Rs 10 lakh to his family.

The Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party, which are in the Opposition, staged protests against the killing in Mannarcaud.