Updated March 2nd, 2024 at 15:02 IST

Kerala Student Death: Governor Appoints New Vice Chancellor of Veterinary College in Wayanad

The distressing incident unfolded amidst allegations of ragging and assault by a mob, with fingers pointing towards the Student Federation of India (SFI) union.

Reported by: Nandini Verma
Representative Image | Image:Representational
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Wayanad: Kerala Governor Arif Mohammed Khan on Saturday appointed a new  Vice-Chancellor PC Saseendhran in place of Dr MR Sassendranath.

The previous Vice-Chancellor of the College of Veterinary and Animal Sciences in Pookode, Wayanad was suspended after JS Siddharth, a second-year student took his life on campus after facing brutal assault and ragging.

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This comes hours after at least 31 students from the college were debarred during the investigation into the death of JS Siddharth, a second-year student who took his life on campus after facing brutal assault and ragging.

As per sources, 19 students have been debarred for three years while 12 students have been debarred for one year. These students can no longer study in any recognised institution.

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The incident was initially kept under wraps for the last 10 days. The distressing incident unfolded amidst allegations of ragging and assault by a mob, with fingers pointing towards the Student Federation of India (SFI) unit operating within the college. Shockingly, Siddharth's demise came after he was reportedly subjected to a trial by a mob within the campus premises.

Reports indicate that Siddharth was subjected to a brutal assault, allegedly involving the use of belts and cable wires. The situation escalated further with the revelation that the college's sole student union, the SFI, was allegedly involved in orchestrating the mob trial.

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In the wake of Siddharth's death, the police swiftly moved into action, arresting six individuals suspected to be involved in the assault. However, the authorities revealed that a total of 18 individuals, including SFI leaders, are implicated in the incident, with 12 still absconding.

Further scrutiny into the matter revealed unsettling details, with the post-mortem report confirming signs of severe physical trauma on Siddharth's body. Family members of the deceased student have come forward, alleging that Siddharth endured merciless beatings for three days before his demise, purportedly at the hands of SFI leaders.

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Amidst mounting pressure and outcry, SFI's state president, Pm Arsho announced the expulsion of four SFI leaders, including the unit secretary, from the union. Arsho also vowed that no accused leader would be shielded from accountability.

However, the situation took a disturbing turn with revelations that the college union president, K Arun, who also served as a member of the anti-ragging cell, allegedly spearheaded the mob trial and ragging that led to Siddharth's tragic end. K Arun, who remains at large, is believed to have played a pivotal role in the assault.

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Expressing profound grief and disbelief, Siddharth's father, Jayaprakash, vehemently rejected the notion of suicide, insisting that his son was a victim of assault and murder. "He will never do it. I am sure. My son was murdered. He was murdered and hung. This is what I believe," said Jayaprakash, underscoring the anguish and unanswered questions surrounding Siddharth's untimely demise.

Two SFI Leaders Surrender to Police in Connection with Siddharth's Death Case

Following the suspension of six additional students related to the tragic demise of Siddharth, a veterinary college student, the involvement of more individuals has come to light. Those arrested in connection with the incident have been suspended, while eight individuals remain at large.

Yesterday, Deputy Superintendent of Police (DYSP) had announced the intention to issue lookout notices for the absconding suspects.

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In a recent development, two leaders from the Students' Federation of India (SFI) surrendered to the police last night. SFI Unit Secretary Amal Ihsan and College Union President K. Arun turned themselves in connection with the case.

Further progress in the investigation occurred this morning with the arrest of one individual. Asif Khan, a resident of Varkala in Thiruvananthapuram, was apprehended in Varkala by the police.

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AICC General Secretary KC Venugopal visited the parents of Siddharth, refraining from disclosing details about the encounter. Meanwhile, Venugopal condemned the tragic death of Siddharth, characterizing it as a consequence of mob violence. He stressed that the incident unequivocally amounts to murder, with Siddharth reportedly subjected to three days of relentless torture and assault with weapons, before allegedly taking his own life. Venugopal questioned the societal implications of such violence, expressing concern over the transformation of college campuses into arenas of partisan strife.

(With Inputs from Aswin Nandakumar)

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Published February 29th, 2024 at 14:13 IST