Kerala veterinary college student’s death: Probe commission’s sitting from 29 May

The police in its remand report regarding one of the accused in the case had told a court that the victim was assaulted viciously.

BySouth First Desk

Published May 24, 2024 | 11:15 AM Updated May 24, 2024 | 11:19 AM

Kerala Veterinary and Animal Sciences University in Wayanad

The Commission of Inquiry (CoI) appointed by Governor Arif Mohammed Khan to look into the alleged administrative lapses by officials of the Kerala Veterinary and Animal Sciences University that led to the death of a student studying there, will commence its sittings from 29 May.

The CoI, headed by retired Kerala High Court judge Justice A Hariprasad, will be functioning in the Cochin University of Science And Technology (CUSAT) campus in Ernakulam, a release issued by the Commission on Thursday, 23 May, said.

The CoI was constituted by Khan as Chancellor of Universities in the state, following the death of 20-year-old Sidharthan JS who was found hanging inside the bathroom of the college hostel on February 18.

The Commission said that those who wish to give any pertinent statement, information or make disclosures can contact it by post at—Commission of Inquiry, Visiting Faculty Guest House, Cochin University of Science And Technology, CUSAT (PO), Thrikkakara, PIN-682022 —or through e-mail —jahinquiry.kvasu@gmail.com —or over the phone at 8848314328.

“The person furnishing a statement or information or making the disclosure should reveal all material particulars pertaining to his/her identity in the communication for ascertaining the credentials of that person.

“If the maker of the statement or informant wishes to keep their identity secret, it should be indicated in the communication,” the Commission said in the release.

Also Read: Kerala vet student death: CBI arrives in Wayanad, holds talks with police officials

Allegations against SFI

Earlier, Dr MK Narayanan, the dean of the college, and R Kanthanadhan, the assistant warden of the men’s hostel, were suspended in connection with the death.

Kerala Governor Arif Mohammad Khan, as Chancellor of Universities in the state, had suspended the Vice Chancellor of the university, Prof (Dr) MR Saseendranath, for negligence. A judicial probe was also ordered to look into the incident.

Following the claims made by the parents, political tensions in the state escalated with the Congress and BJP accusing the ruling CPI(M)’s student wing Students Federation of India (SFI) of beating Siddharthan to death.

Allegations of severe harassment and physical torture allegedly from ragging have been raised against members of the student outfit.

SFI has however, denied the allegations.

The assault

The police in its remand report regarding one of the accused in the case had told a court that the victim was assaulted viciously.

The report said that a belt and a cable wire were used to assault Sidharthan.

It said that his classmates and seniors held a public trial inside the hostel alleging that he had misbehaved with a female student of the college.

It said that the assault began on 16 February at around 9 PM and lasted till 2 AM on 17 February.

Siddharthan’s father contended that according to the postmortem report, his son’s body had three days’ worth of injuries and an empty stomach, which indicated that he was assaulted viciously and not given any food.

Jayaprakash also asserted that his son would not have taken his own life.

Police have charged around 18 accused in the case under sections 341 (wrongful restraint), 323 (voluntarily causing hurt), 324 (voluntarily causing hurt by dangerous weapon), 306 (Abetment of suicide), of the Indian Penal Code and relevant sections of the Kerala Prohibition Of Ragging Act.

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Transferred to CBI

The case was later handed over to the CBI by the state government at the request of the student’s family.

Sidharthan was a second-year Bachelor of Veterinary Science and Animal Husbandry student.

His parents have claimed that some of his college mates told them that he was beaten to death by some local SFI leaders and activists.

The student’s death had led to widespread protests against SFI and the ruling Left government by the Congress-led opposition and its various wings.

(With PTI inputs)