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Pookode campus death should be the last of its kind

Pookode campus death should be the last of its kind

One more martyr of campus anarchy. A group of students of Pookode Veterinary campus pushed to death a friend who must have studied with him and was supposed to start a new era together by subjecting him to a mob trial, brutally beating him and mentally torturing. Seven people have been arrested in the incident under charges of illegal detention, assault, ragging and abatement to suicide. Around 11 people, including the college union president, union member, and SFI (Students' Federation of India) unit secretary, are absconding. It was on February 18 that second-year BVSC student J.S. Siddharth was found hanging in the hostel washroom. On the 14th, the senior students ganged up and beat him up for expressing love to a girl during an event held in the college on the eve of Valentine's Day. Relatives of the victim allege that in the days that followed, there was a public trial and beating, making him naked. The post-mortem report states that there were many wounds on the body which were two days old. There were scars and bruises on the chest and neck. Although he died on the 18th, six days later, the Vythiri police registered a case only after the incident became controversial. It is not known whether someone came to drape the party flag on the lifeless body of this student and shout the slogan, 'He lives through us'.

In any case, the loss caused by this death to the country and family, who were longing for his rise and growth is irreparable. The college authorities who did not take action despite being aware of the atrocities and violence and the police who did not take the case seriously despite the statements of the classmates, are equally guilty in the incident. Its only four days after the death that the anti-ragging committee was convened in the college. To be noted is that the president of the college union who led the beatings was also a member of the same committee. It is comforting that the Chief Minister, who is also in charge of home affairs, has ordered, although belatedly the formation of a special team to investigate the incident. He has also directed to take strong legal action against those involved in the incident. There have been allegations of anti-democratic practices in some SFI-controlled colleges, Pookode College being one such campus. The recent clashes in many colleges are a continuation of the protests against such hegemonic measures. This time the students of a prominent college in Thiruvananthapuram, which had been totally ruled by SFI for two decades, supported KSU. What should make the leaders of the organization think is the student response to the election results that 'we are not KSU workers, we were supporting KSU in protest against SFI's anti-democratic and dictatorial actions'.

This is not the first time that lives have been lost in college campuses. The fact is that rules and regulations are introduced every time but they are ineffective. Similar steps were taken when a student was killed during Onam celebrations in a college in Thiruvananthapuram and when a student committed suicide in Kanjirapalli. There are many laws against ragging. UGC also keeps constantly reminding of such matters. But with political considerations interfering with the implementation, the accused escape. Such violence has led to the clamour to ban college politics altogether on the one hand and on the other to students taking loans at exorbitant interest rates to study abroad. College politics is not something to be shunned. The role played by student politics in contributing the best leaders to the country since the freedom struggle is significant. However, it is the responsibility of the organizations and the political parties that unleash them to ensure that the college environment does not become anti-democratic and anti-human. Suppressing classmates with muscle power and the cases that have come in its name should not be seen as a qualification of organizational leaders. Along with textbook knowledge, colleges also teach mutual love, brotherhood and humanity.But let's not repeat the sad situation of educational institutions turning into places which create anti-socials, and students end their lives as victims of their terror and mob trials. Criminals should be punished mercilessly. The student organizations and their political leadership should be ready for introspection to save the colleges from such a predicament.

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TAGS:raggingEditorialSFIKerala Newscampus suicidecampus politics
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