Haripad: A centuries-old witness box is the star attraction at the taluk office at the revenue tower at Haripad in Alappuzha district. Legendary thief Kayamkulam Kochunni, born in 1818, is said to have stood on trial in this witness stand. The celebrated brigand won hearts as he helped the poor after plundering from the well-to-do.
As tehsildar and magistrate were the same person those days, accused stood on trial at taluk offices that were then known as 'Danavu'. After he was caught, Kochunni was taken to the Haripad Danavu and took this witness stand during the trial, elders recalled.
Kottarathil Sankunni's 'Aithihyamala', a compilation of legends about Kerala, also mentions that the legendary robber was taken to Haripad for trial and then sent to the Thiruvananthapuram Central Jail.
The more than 200-year-old witness box used for the trial is still preserved at the taluk office at Haripad. The witness box has been given a fresh coating of varnish and kept at the taluk tehsildar's office now.
Kochunni is dubbed the Robin Hood of Kerala.