Veterinary student death: Four more arrested; 'Cult of violence' promoted in state, says Governor

PTI | Thiruvananthapuram | Updated: 01-03-2024 21:31 IST | Created: 01-03-2024 21:31 IST
Veterinary student death: Four more arrested; 'Cult of violence' promoted in state, says Governor
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Four arrests were made by police on Friday in connection with the recent death of a student of the Kerala Veterinary and Animal Sciences University in Wayanad, with the Congress and BJP accusing the ruling party CPI(M)'s student wing SFI of beating him to death.

With this, the total number of arrests in the case has reached 11. Of the 11, five are among the 12 main accused in the case and the remaining are still absconding, police said.

Twenty-year-old Siddharthan, a second year student of the Bachelor of Veterinary Science and Animal Husbandry, was found hanging in his hostel bathroom on February 18. 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.

Later, the number of accused increased to 18.

On Friday, police recorded the arrest of four persons, two who surrendered on Thursday, one who was caught from Kollam yesterday and another who surrendered before a court in Kalpetta in Wayanad district today, a senior police officer said.

Kerala Governor Arif Mohammed Khan, state Food Supplies Minister G R Anil, AICC General Secretary K C Venugopal and Youth Congress state President Rahul Mamkootathil visited Siddharthan's family today.

Following the visit, Khan said there is a ''cult of violence'' being promoted in the state, and urged all political parties to rethink their strategies and ''give up using violence to achieve political ends''.

Khan said that young people were being ''trained in violent methods, high-handedness and bullying''.

''I appeal to Kerala society and every party to rethink their strategies. Give up violence. Violence, ultimately, does not solve any problems. Violence is a negation of civilised conduct, democracy, ethical values, humanity and humanness.

''So, I appeal to each and every political party to give up using violence as a method to achieve political ends and to stop training youngsters in violent methods,'' the governor said.

On being asked whether he believes that the SFI, the student wing of the ruling CPI(M), was involved in the death of Siddharthan, Khan said that it is ''obvious''.

He claimed that everyone, including the police and the college authorities, know that the Students Federation of India (SFI) was involved in the death of the victim.

The SFI, the ruling CPI(M)'s student wing, has consistently denied the allegations against it.

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 crimes.

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

Food Supplies Minister Anil told reporters that the government is viewing the issue seriously and that strict legal action would be taken against the culprits, irrespective of who they were.

Anil 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 in the morning.

State General Education Minister V Sivankutty said the government is working to bring everyone directly or indirectly involved in the incident before the law.

Responding to reporters' queries about the alleged SFI involvement, the minister said be it any organisation, the government will take strict action against those involved in the incident.

Later, the Youth Congress carried out a march to the state secretariat, shouting slogans against the SFI and accusing it of beating Siddharthan to death.

Meanwhile, the Bharatheeya Vichara Kendram, an RSS outfit, demanded that the student's death be investigated by the CBI or an independent team under the supervision of the Kerala High Court.

It also sought a compensation of Rs one crore for the victim's family.

Siddharthan's parents have claimed that some of his collegemates told them that he was beaten to death by some local SFI leaders and activists.

The 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 brutally beaten up and not given any food.

(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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