Eight IGNTU security guards attacked us with sticks, Kerala student recalls brutal assault

Anuppur sub-collector told South First that the police have booked two supervisors and a security guard in connection with the incident.

BySreerag PS

Published Mar 13, 2023 | 1:27 PM Updated Mar 14, 2023 | 11:16 AM

Eight IGNTU security guards attacked us with sticks, Kerala student recalls brutal assault

Leaders across political parties deplored an alleged attack on four Malayali students at the Indira Gandhi National Tribal University (IGNTU) at Amarkantak in Madhya Pradesh’s Anuppur district.

They demanded action against a group of security guards who allegedly attacked the students, identified only by their first names, Aadil, Nasheel, Abhishek, and Adnaan, on Friday, 10 March.

Speaking to South First, Adnaan said they were assaulted for no apparent reason.

He said that a security guard started filming them when went up to an unused water tank on the campus around 6 pm on the day of Holi. Students frequent the tank for an aerial view of the campus and to click pictures.

“They (two security guards) did not object when we went upstairs. When enquired why we were being filmed, they addressed us as Keral wala (Keralite),” the student said, adding that they left following the incident.

“They asked for our details and demanded to see our identity cards. We said the cards were in the university hostel and sought time to get them,” Adnaan said.

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Eight guards attacked us: Students

The guards, the student claimed, followed them in a vehicle after informing the security personnel at the main gate, where they were attacked.

“Nasheel was pulled down by his hair and beaten from behind which severely impacted his ears,” Adnaan said, adding that one of the guards yelled, “maar lo ye Keral walom ko (beat these people from Kerala)”.

The eight guards who attacked the students with sticks allegedly ignored an assistant professor’s appeal to spare them.

The students were initially taken to the university’s dispensary and then to the Anuppur district hospital the next day. Later, around 2 pm on Saturday, 11 March, they were shifted to the Birsa Munda Government Hospital in Shahdol. None of the hospitals had an ENT specialist.

However, the only general physician present at the Birsa Munda hospital asked the students to revisit on Monday for further tests.

“Nasheel’s condition is serious, He has severe pain in the right ear, and he often loses body balance. He also has issues with hearing and also has pain when hearing loud noises. Aadil has severe pain in his nose. There is a clot and his nose often bleeds,” Adnaan said.

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Sub-collector visits campus

The police recorded the students’ statements on Sunday, 12 March. The students alleged that the university authorities decided to shift them to the hospital only after the sub-collector, a Keralite, visited the campus.

Speaking to South First sub-collector KV Vivek said the situation is now under control. The students are being provided adequate medical treatment.

“A student, who required further treatment, consulted an ENT specialist. We are awaiting the report. The remaining students are better now and their injuries are minor,” he said.

The official said that the police have registered an FIR in which two supervisors and a security guard have been named as accused. The university’s internal investigation committee is also probing the matter.

Vivek refuted the student’s statement that they were shifted to the hospital only after the sub-collector’s intervention.

“It is an overstatement. They (the administration) are also concerned about the health of the students and they would have shifted the students to the hospital even if I was not involved in the matter,” he added.

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Former student blames V-C

Meanwhile, Adnaan said the university has prohibited them from speaking to the police without informing the administration.

“We do not have much support inside the university. We are worried whether the university administration will force the witnesses to change their statements,” Adnaan said.

Former student Laseen Farhan said the new vice-chancellor has given all powers to the security guards. “If there is a problem, the security guards would intervene without informing the authorities concerned and issue orders to the students,” he told South First.

Meanwhile, the university said on Twitter that an inquiry committee has been constituted and strict action will be taken against those found guilty.

“An Inquiry Committee has been constituted by the IGNTU to investigate the alleged dispute between some students who climbed the W.T. located on the campus and the security Guard. Inq. Comm. strict action as per rules will be taken against the elements found guilty in the incident,” it tweeted.

Leaders condemn attack

Several leaders, including Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, Opposition Leader VD Satheesan, MPs Rahul Gandhi, Shashi Tharoor, and John Brittas, condemned the attack on the students.

The growing hostility towards individuals based on their identities should be resisted, Vijayan said in a tweet.

Satheesan wrote to Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan seeking his intervention, saying students from Kerala are being targeted without any provocation at IGNTU.

In a letter to Union Education Minister Dharmendra Pradhan, Rajya Sabha member Brittas sought strong action against the perpetrators of the crime.

He said the attack was part of an organised series of hostile actions against students from Kerala who are being targeted for their regional, linguistic, and ethnic backgrounds.

Tharoor, too, extended support to the students.

Rahul Gandhi calls for a swift probe

Kerala’s Wayanad has the most number of applicants to the university after Madhya Pradesh, and several students from the district study in IGNTU.

On Sunday night, Wayanad MP Rahul Gandhi demanded a probe into the issue.

“Shocked to hear about the vicious assault on four students from Kerala at the Indira Gandhi National Tribal University in Amarkantak, Madhya Pradesh, purportedly by the University’s security personnel. It is shameful and completely unacceptable… A swift and fair probe must be carried out into this incident to bring the culprits to justice.” Gandhi wrote on Facebook.

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