SFI activist's murder: Five more in custody, police say Nikhil Paili pleaded guilty

The slain Dheeraj Rajendran
The slain Dheeraj Rajendran

Idukki: Five more people have been taken into custody in connection with the murder of SFI activist Dheeraj Rajendran by allegedly by a Youth Congress worker in Government Engineering College here on Monday.

Earlier, the police had nabbed the accused Nikhil Paili as he attempted to escape on a bus to Ernakulam just hours after committing the crime. Police were ably assisted by passengers on the bus who, after sighting Paili, informed police authorities.

He has pleaded guilty to the crime during the preliminary questioning, police sources said.

The knife used to stab Dheeraj remains to be found.

The accused was taken to Karimanal police station and later to Idukki.

He is the Youth Congress' Vazhathoppu constituency president.

Dheeraj was stabbed during a clash during the college union elections. He was a seventh-semester computer science student.

Two other SFI members – Abhijith and Amal – were also critically injured in the attack and have been hospitalised.

Reports said the activists of the two organisations clashed during the student body union election, leading to the murder.

SFI is the student wing of the CPM, and KSU of the Congress.

SFI has been ruling the student union of the college for years.

The Kerala Technology University (KTU) vice-chancellor has asked the college authorities to suspend the student election in the wake of the incident.

Dheeraj was a native of Palakkulangara near Thaliparamba in Kannur. He was stabbed in the neck. Though he was rushed to the Government Medical College Hospital, Idukki, his life could not be saved.

Dheeraj is the son of Rajendran, a LIC agent, and Kala, a nurse at Thaliparamba Taluk Ayurveda Hospital. His younger brother Adwaith is a first-year undergraduate student.

"There were minor issues between both the student organisations as election-related activities were on for the last few days. The incident happened at around 1 pm. He was shifted to medical college here but could not be saved," the police said.

Hundreds of students and local Left leaders, including MLAs, gathered at the Idukki Medical College Hospital where the body of the student activist has been kept.

The CPM bought eight cents of land near his house for Dheeraj's funeral. The party said it will erect a monument here to the slain hero.

A hartal has been declared in Taliparamba from 4 pm on Tuesday.

Dheeraj's body will be brought here at 6 pm.

Clashes were also reported from several places across Kerala following the murder of the SFI activist in Idukki.

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