On June 25, the Central University of Kerala had suspended Akhil Thazhath, a final year student of International Relations and Political Science over his Facebook post. Akhil had written a post on Facebook criticizing the academic community of the campus and the treatment of Dalit scholar Ganthoti Nagaraju, a Ph.D. student in Department of Linguistics, against whom the university took both legal and police action. Akhil attempted to kill himself on Tuesday 9th October 2018 .
“I can not tell you the pain and neglect I am suffering from here. I do not forget the faces of the university authorities who have hurt me so much. Vice-Chancellor Gopakumar, Registrar Radhakrishnan Nair, Pro Vice Chancellor KS Radhakrishnan, Jayaprasad, Dr. Mohan Kundar have not just attacked me but the whole of society.”
reads the suicide note of Akhil, a student who was expelled from the college for allegedly posting against the Central University of Kasargod.
Akhil Thazhath, a resident of Thrissur, tried to commit suicide by cutting his veins. Akhil is a second year MA student of International Relations at the Central University of Kasaragod. He is being treated at Kanhangad district hospital. Akhil was found unconscious in the morning by students and was rushed to the hospital.
Akhil who joined as an integrated student at the CUK campus was worried that the university officials might not even release his bachelor’s certificate because of the post.
“He was at the campus to inquire about the status of his case. He was staying with some of the friends and was extremely depressed. The incident happened Tuesday (Oct 9th) morning where he was found to have slashed his wrist with a glass piece,”
responded one of the students.
Following the Facebook post, in the enquiry submitted to the administration, it has been alleged that the student hasn’t apologised to the authorities and the executive council for his post.
but Akhil had submitted an apology letter about the misunderstanding regarding the situation. In his letter, Akhil clarified that he hasn’t abused any member of the University and in case anyone was hurt by his Facebook status, he apologises for that. So, the administration’s argument about Akhil not submitting a response and apology is a blatant lie. Also, the administration has not forwarded the apology letter to the enquiry committee. It is a planned attack by the administration.”
On September 8, Akhil Thazhath was dismissed by the administration. The Facebook post, written originally in Malayalam on the vent of his dismissal, reads “I have been ousted by the University over my Facebook post. The administration acts vindictively towards both the staff members and students within the campus. But I am not the only one. They have already dismissed 15 of their workers including poor mess workers from the campus. The administration has become anti-student and anti-worker. They have done many political appointments in the campus. All of them inclined towards BJP-RSS. The University administration has committed a more violent and vengeful act than my dismissal. All of this points to the fact that we are facing a bunch of criminals protecting the status quo. Being unable to do the necessary, I want to say that I am also responsible for creating this status quo. With more love and comradeship, I want to continue my life through my struggles. I want to despise those who think that they have taught me a lesson. They are the real victims of history. Not me.”
Soon after, student organisations affiliated to all political parties, except BJP, gheraoed the CUK administrative block demanding the immediate revocation of his dismissal.
Akhil was suspended on June 25, and after an enquiry, the vice-chancellor G Gopa Kumar expelled him on September 6. The expulsion triggered widespread protest, and the VC called for a meeting with people’s representatives to discuss the matter, among others issues, on September 18.
In the meeting, Gopa Kumar assured MP P Karunakaran and MLA K Kunhiraman the Executive Council would reconsider the dismissal. However, soon after the meeting, CUK brought out another order barring Akhil from entering the campus. The enquiry committee has failed so far in proving the allegations against Akhil. They had reportedly asked the student himself to produce the post as a proof against himself.
Meanwhile, pro vice-chancellor of the university K Jayaprasad said an order to stop Akhil from entering the campus was issued because there was an “information from police and special branch” that he would stage a “suicidal drama” in the Administrative Block.
To quell the students’ protest against the expulsion of Akhil, CUK has suspended the classes, till further notice. The circular said: “…due to the ongoing protests and the siege of the administrative building of the university by a section of students and outsiders, the academic activities of the university will remain suspended from October 10 till further orders.” The circular was issued late Tuesday evening.
Newsclick reports that even after the expulsion, Akhil was constantly harassed by the administration whenever he tried to reason with them, according to some of the students. He was reportedly denied permission to enter the campus on the grounds of expulsion even when he explained that he was there to collect the committee report of the enquiry. He was denied permission to meet the pro vice-chancellor via a circular that alleged that Thazhath was drunk. A complaint registered with the police has been attached as a proof.
Akhil, along with his fellow students were constantly protesting against the saffronisation of the administration. He is not the first victim of this censorship. G Nagaraju, a PhD scholar in CUK had to serve five days in jail for breaking a 200-rupee glass in his hostel. Dr Prasad Pannian, head of the department of English, was suspended for putting up a Facebook post supporting Nagaraju.
Kasargod SP Srinivas said that the law and order situation in the university will affect whole of Kasargod. and is trying to solve problems urgently. The SP also said that the meeting was convened by the district collector for consultation to take necessary measures.
The student organizations in the university have went on an indefinite strike. The campus is currently under police surveillance. However, student organizations say that their decision is to go forward in the way of justice, no matter what.
“A special squad of nurses was formed in the camps to kill children who were not entirely healthy in Nazi Germany . Hitler intended that the country needed no new generation who was not fully healthy. The current universities are new forms of such practices ” said Freddy, father of Akhil Thazhath. “Akhil is still under treatment” he said. Clarifying that, Akhil is unconscious because of taking medicines to relieve stress and therefore not in a position to talk.
“My son responded just like someone who understood such things was happening. It was not just for him but for children studying there and many more. He is very emotional, I can understand this kind of response from him”
The mental and physical stress that my son endured definitely need justice, and I will definitely go ahead with the case against the university. Freddy told Azhimukham.
The Central University of Kerala was established in Kasargod in 2009. It currently has around 1,100 students pursuing 17 post graduate and research programmes.