Kerala Veterinary student death: two more arrested by police

Police on Friday arrested two more persons in connection with the recent death of a student of the Kerala Veterinary and Animal Sciences University at Pookode here.
Siddharthan (L) and the accused (R)
Siddharthan (L) and the accused (R)

Wayanad | Police on Friday arrested two more persons in connection with the recent death of a student of the Kerala Veterinary and Animal Sciences University at Pookode here.

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.

Presently, nine students have been arrested in connection with the death of 20-year-old Siddharthan, a second year Bachelor of Veterinary Science and Animal Husbandry student, who was found hanging in his hostel bathroom on February 18.

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

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 added.

AICC general secretary K C 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.

Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan had yesterday 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.

Subsequently, the number of accused increased to 18.

Siddharthan's death has stirred up the political waters in the state with the Congress and the BJP accusing the ruling CPI(M)'s student wing SFI of beating the young man to death.

The Students Federation of India (SFI) has denied the allegations.

The victim's 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 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.

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