Veterinary student's death: Reinstatement of suspended students cancelled after Guv's intervention

Soon after cancelling the order on Guv's instructions, in a dramatic move Dr. PC Saseendran, also tendered his resignation as the Vice Chancellor of the Kerala Veterinary and Animal Sciences University in Wayanad.
Dr. PC Saseendran
Dr. PC Saseendran

Thiruvananthapuram | A controversial order issued by the state-run College of Veterinary and Animal Sciences, reinstating 33 students who had been suspended earlier in connection with a student's death last month, was cancelled on Monday after Governor Arif Mohammed Khan intervened, according to official sources here.

On learning about the incident, Khan directed the Vice Chancellor of Kerala Veterinary and Animal Sciences University in Wayanad, P C Saseendran, to cancel the order reinstating the students suspended for their alleged link to the death of 20-year-old Sidharthan JS on February 18, they said.

Saseendran immediately cancelled the order following the intervention of the Governor, who is the chancellor of the university.

In a dramatic move, Saseendran also tendered his resignation as the Vice Chancellor of the University soon after cancelling the order, an official source told PTI.

The source said the Governor has not yet made a decision on Saseendran's resignation.

Saseendran was appointed as the VC of the University on March 2 by Khan after suspending the Vice Chancellor of the University, Prof (Dr) M R Saseendranath, for gross dereliction of duty on his part during the developments that led to the death of Sidharthan.

Sidharthan was found hanging inside the bathroom of the college hostel on February 18, and his family and friends alleged that he was subjected to cruel ragging by fellow students, including activists of CPI (M)'s students' outfit, SFI.

As the death triggered a huge political row in the state, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan had announced a CBI probe into the incident.

Today's development followed allegations by Sidharthan's family that the delay in the CBI investigation into their son's death was aimed at sabotaging the case.

The victim's father met Governor Khan at Raj Bhavan, following the controversial action of the management of the state-run college reinstating 33 students who had been suspended earlier in connection with Sidharthan's death.

Earlier in the day, Union Minister Rajeev Chandrasekhar, and NDA candidate for the Thiruvananthapuram Lok Sabha seat, assured to expedite the launch of the CBI investigation into the student's death.

Speaking to reporters here, Chandrasekhar said he wouldn't let those responsible for Sidharthan's death go scot-free and would go to any extent to ensure justice for his family.

"The perpetrators of this heinous crime will not be spared," he said.

The MoS gave the assurance when Sidharthan's father came to meet him at the Election Committee office.

"There needs to be more clarity on the proceedings regarding the CBI investigation said to have been announced by the CM with regard to Sidharth's death," he said.

He also said that the initial laxity in the investigation and the subsequent reinstatement of the students into the college, who had been suspended earlier as responsible for the death, add mystery to the tragic incident.

Efforts would be made from his side to speed up the CBI probe into the incident, Chandrasekhar added.

The action of the management of the College of Veterinary and Animal Sciences, reinstating 33 students, invited sharp reactions from Union Minister V Muraleedharan and opposition leader V D Satheesan.

Muraleedharan suspected intervention of high-profile people in the reinstatement of the suspended students.

He also alleged that it was done without the recommendation or legal advice by the anti-ragging committee.

There was pressure upon the vice chancellor from Marxist party leaders to protect the SFI workers allegedly involved in the crime, the minister added.

Satheesan also alleged that the VC and the state government were trying to protect those behind the killing of Sidharthan by sabotaging the case.

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