A sessions court in Kannur city in Kerala on Friday sentenced five workers of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) to life imprisonment for killing a Bharatiya Janata Party activist in 2008, PTI reported. However, the court acquitted two other accused in the case.

Thalassery Additional District Sessions court judge PN Vinod also fined each convict Rs 1 lakh for killing KV Surendran, 62. The convicts were Akhilesh, 35, M Kalesh, 36, M Lijesh, 32, Vineesh, 25 and PK Shaijosh, 28 – all from Thiruvangod. The court said the fine should be paid to the family of Surendran.

The prosecution had argued that the convicts killed Surendran at his house on March 8, 2008, due to a political dispute. The court relied on the testimonies of witnesses, including prime witness Soumya, the wife of Surendran.

A number of activists belonging to political parties have been attacked in the state over the past decade and a half. Though there are no official figures, data obtained from a Right to Information query showed that RSS-BJP and CPI(M) have lost at least 30 workers each between 2000 and 2016. Kannur district alone reported 69 political murders in this period.