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Subjected To 'Mob Trial', Kerala Student Found Hanging In Hostel Room; College Denies Knowledge

The 20-year-old second-year student of the Kerala Veterinary and Animal Sciences University at Pookode in Wayanad, was found hanging in his hostel bathroom on February 18. It is alleged that he was subjected to brutal ragging and 'mob trial'.

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The 20-year-old was a second-year student of the Kerala Veterinary and Animal Sciences University at Pookode in Wayanad Photo: File representative image
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A student in Kerala's Wayanad, who allegedly was subjected to mob trial, was found hanging in his hostel bathroom on February 18, after which police arrested two people in connection with the matter.

The 20-year-old second-year student of the Kerala Veterinary and Animal Sciences University at Pookode in Wayanad, was found hanging in his hostel bathroom on February 18.

The two had surrendered last night following the intense pressure exerted on them by the cops, a senior police officer of the district said. Besides them, a third accused was caught from Kollam district yesterday and is presently in custody, the officer said, adding that his arrest has not yet been recorded. All three are among the 12 main accused in the case, police said.

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Presently, nine students have been arrested in connection with the death of Siddharthan, a second year Bachelor of Veterinary Science and Animal Husbandry student, who was found hanging in his hostel bathroom on February 18.

Ragging, Mob Trial Allegations

Reports said that Siddharthan was subject to brutal ragging and a mob trial. The accused in the case include college union leaders of the ruling CPI(M)'s student outfit, the Students' Federation of India (SFI), a Deccan Herald report mentioned.

The post-mortem findings cited in the report revealed Siddharthan had two-to-three days old injury marks all over the body, his stomach was also found to be empty as he was suspected to have been denied food.

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“The mob trial took place on the hostel premises. The accused are inmates of the hostel. A student, Rahan, had called Sidharth who had left for home on February 15, back to the hostel. At present we cannot say whether there was any lapse by the college management,” a report in The New Indian Express quoted Kalpetta DySP Sajeev TN, who is heading the probe at present, as saying. The college has denied knowledge of the mob trial.

Police said the preliminary probe found that a confrontation on Valentine's Day led to the brutal assault on Siddharthan by seniors.

Siddharthan was allegedly paraded naked and assaulted brutally in front of other students and was also subjected to a mob trial, the report mentioned, adding that the brutalities took place in the courtyard of the hostel were there are over hundred residents. But no one intervened.

Sidharth's parents believe that his death is a case of murder. Siddharthan's father Jayaprakash and mother Sheeba told the media that he was on his way home on February 15, however, on the way one of his classmates called him and asked him to return to college for some urgent work.

"It was a trap," his parents said.

On reaching the hostel he was subjected to brutal assault by the seniors, including an SFI leader of the college union, they said.

What Kerala Govt Said

State Food Supplies Minister GR Anil, who visited the victim's family on Friday, told reporters that the government was viewing the issue very seriously and strict legal action would be taken against the culprits.

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The minister also said that there would be an unbiased investigation of the matter and anyone, including college authorities, found to be involved in it would face appropriate legal action.

"It is not a political issue," he said.

AICC general secretary KC Venugopal and Youth Congress state president Rahul Mamkootathil also met the victim's family today. After meeting the family, Venugopal told reporters that "it was a clear cut case of murder".

The AICC general secretary also questioned what the college authorities were doing to prevent such incidents.

Venugopal also accused Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan of turning SFI into a criminal organisation.

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Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan had on Thursday directed the state police chief to form a Special Investigation Team (SIT) to probe Siddharthan's death and ordered that strict legal action be taken against the accused in the case.

On Wednesday, six out of the 18 accused in the case were arrested. However, they were not among the 12 main accused.

The police, which had initially registered a case of unnatural death, had later booked 12 students for various offences, including abetment of suicide, wrongful restraint and voluntarily causing hurt by dangerous weapons or means under the IPC and the Kerala Prohibition of Ragging Act.

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(with PTI inputs)

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