A mob on Saturday attacked a Kerala man who was accused in the Walayar sexual assault and murder of two minor sisters in Palakkad district, The Hindu reported.

M Madhu was acquitted by a court under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act along with three other accused for lack of evidence on October 25. The acquitalls had triggered protests and the Pinarayi Vijayan-led Kerala government had last month announced judicial investigation and admitted that police failed to conduct a thorough investigation in the case.

Madhu was thrashed by a group of people around noon on Saturday and left on the road. Police rescued and admitted him to a government hospital in Palakkad. His injuries are not of severe nature, hospital officials told The Hindu. Further examinations were underway to identify if he had suffered any internal injuries.

The attack took place when Madhu had gone to a local market at Attappallam. He got angry when a group of people called him a “rapist”, and soon he was beaten up. The attackers also allegedly screamed at him saying he had no right to live.

His mother alleged that the attackers were Sangh Parivar activists. The police are yet to trace the accused.

The incident came a day after the police encounter that took place near Hyderabad in which four men accused of raping and killing a woman were shot dead when they allegedly tried to escape from custody. Locals said the Telanagana episode triggered the attack on Madhu.

Walayar sisters’ rape-murder case

The older girl, who was 13 years old, was found hanging at her home in Walayar town on January 13, 2017. On March 4 that year, her nine-year-old sister was found dead in the same manner. Autopsy reports revealed that the sisters had been sexually assaulted.

The state government had called the POCSO court’s verdict “absolutely perverse and wholly unsustainable”and filed an appeal in the High Court in November to challenge the acquittal of the accused in the case.

The special public prosecutor in the case was also removed as he could not present incriminating evidence against the accused.

The government had alleged that the witness statements were used by the prosecutor “with oblique motive, to contradict the hostile witnesses or to corroborate the supporting witnesses”.

The mother of the girls had approached the Kerala High Court on November 13 and sought punishment for the accused “for the maximum term of the offence committed by them” or to direct a fresh trial and the appointment of a new prosecutor. The mother had claimed that the investigating agency had succumbed to political pressure and obeyed its political masters to helped weaken the case against the accused.

Opposition parties in Kerala had criticised the state government for the acquittals and claimed that the accused were shielded by the ruling Left Democratic Front.