Thiruvananthapuram: The Thiruvananthapuram additional sessions court on Monday handed life imprisonments to a dozen Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) workers for the murder of a Communist Party of India-Marxist activist, V.V. Vishnu, eight years ago.

Eleven of the men were given double life imprisonments, and one was given a single life imprisonment. Another accused, who had helped the key accused to go into hiding, was given three years’ jail term. The convicts must also give Rs300,000 (Dh16,247) to the family of the deceased.

Vishnu was hacked to death in April 2008 at the Vanchiyoor passport office in the state capital, Thiruvananthapuram. According to the prosecution, the attackers had come wearing helmets.

In a twist to the case, one of the accused in the case, K. Ranjith, was murdered in 2008 when he was out on bail. There were 16 accused in the case. While one of the accused, Arun Kumar, was acquitted by the court, another accused, Anil Kumar, is still absconding.

There had been a long-standing feud in the area between the cadres of the RSS and the CPM and the political rivalry is believed to have led to the murder.

A large number of people including the Bharatiya Janata Party workers and family members of the accused had gathered at the court premises ahead of the verdict. A large posse of police was posted at the court, anticipating political clashes.