Wednesday, April 24, 2024

Ragging death of college student: SFI leaders arrested in Kerala

Six students affiliated with the Students Federation of India (SFI), including the college unit president and secretary, have been arrested by Kerala police regarding the alleged suicide of JS Sidharth, a second-year student at the College of Veterinary and Animal Sciences in Pookode, Wayanad.

Sidharth was found hanging in his hostel toilet under suspicious circumstances on 18 February.

The family of Sidharth has raised serious accusations against the SFI members, alleging that he was tortured to death. The postmortem report supports their claims, revealing signs of brutality, indicating that Sidharth had been subjected to severe physical abuse before death.

Sidharth’s stomach was empty at the time of his death, suggesting he had been deprived of food and water for an extended period.

There has been criticism against both the police and the college authorities for their alleged inaction leading up to Sidharth’s death and the absconding of the accused.

Reports indicate that despite early signs of foul play and concerns raised by the family, no decisive actions were taken until doubts were expressed and formal complaints were registered.

The family accused both the police and the college authority of protecting the accused. Some teachers also allegedly threatened students not to say anything in public. Surprisingly, the accused students were still at the college until 24 February, which was six days after Sidharth’s demise.

Speaking to the media, Sidharth’s father, T Jayaprakash, alleged that SFI members had confined and tortured Sidharth for three days before his death.

Sidharth’s uncle, Shibu, further corroborated these claims, stating that Sidharth had faced public trial and assault for participating in a dance with senior girls on Valentine’s Day celebrations at the college.

The Vythiri police have identified the arrested suspects as Rahan Binoy [20], Akash S D [22], Abhishek S [23], Sreehari R D [23], Dons Daayi [23], and Billgate Joshoua [23]. Additionally, there are 11 other suspects, including SFI members, who remain absconding.

It was only after mounting pressure that the academic dean of the university took action against the accused, suspending them from the institution and hostel based on the recommendations of the Anti-Ragging Squad of the University Grants Commission (UGC).

Leader of Opposition VD Satheesan condemned Sidharth’s demise and criticised the ruling Communist Party of India (M) for allegedly attempting to cover up the issue. He called for a thorough investigation into the matter to ensure justice for the victim and his family.

Sajeev, heading the police probe, confirmed that charges have been filed against the accused under the Prohibition of Ragging Act and for abetment of suicide. Despite the arrests, the absconding suspects remain a focal point of the ongoing investigation.

Students are protesting in college to capture the culprits under the banner of MSF and KSU.

At the same time, SFI state president Arsho said that all the accused have been suspended from the party with immediate effect.

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