University College violence: stabbed youth undergoes surgery, SFI suspends 5 members

Violence breaks out in University College, student stabbed
Violence breaks out in University College, Thiruvananthapuram.

Thiruvananthapuram: A minor altercation among students over singing of songs in the college canteen flared up into a full blown campus fight leading to the stabbing of a third-year politics student Akhil allegedly by SFI members. Akhil, who was stabbed twice below his chest, was rushed straight to the General Hospital. After he was given the necessary first aid, Akhil was taken to the Medical College. Akhil had to undergo an emergency surgery.

The police have filed attempt to murder case against six people including SFI unit secretary Nasim. Nasim is also an accused in another case of assault on police officers.

The national president of SFI V P Sanu announced the dismissal of the SFI unit in the University College campus after students cutting across party lines staged a protest in front of the College and then marched towards the Secretariat demanding that the unit be disbanded. A few minutes before Sanu's announcement, the SFI district secretary Riyas had said that the SFI had no role in the incident. However, later in the day the district committee said that Nasim, Shivarenjith, Ibrahim, Adwaith and Aromal have been suspended from the student body.

On Friday, it looked like the entire college, irrespective of their political allegiances, had rose up as one against the SFI. Many students who took part in the Secretariat march said they too were SFI members. “We too are part of the SFI but those who have won the College elections in the name of SFI are trying to stifle democracy in the College,” one of the students said. The injured Akhil, who ironically is also a known SFI member, had reportedly had a fall out with the SFI leaders in the College even earlier. Akhil's father had reportedly complained to the SFI unit leaders about the threat Akhil had faced from some SFI members, and he was even assured that Akhil would be safe.

Students said that the violence of Friday was unleashed by those who barged into the College from outside. “Most of those who rushed inside were goondas from outside and SFI unit members of the nearby Sanskrit College,” a student said. The students, however, have not named anyone in particular. “I saw pen knives in at least six of those who entered the college to attack Akhil and his friends,” a student said.

The issue that led to the group fight and the stabbing had been simmering for the last two days. Students said that a lady unit member disapproved of Akhil and friends singing and making percussive sounds on the desks and benches of the College canteen, which is near the unit room at the back of the College.

The female student leader, who was apparently disturbed by the noise, wanted a ban on singing inside the canteen. She also lodged a formal complaint with the SFI unit against the singing. This had led to war of words and a minor scuffle on July 10 itself.

It was during a compromise meeting on Friday that things got out of hand. One of Akhil's friends were attacked and all hell broke loose. All of a sudden, a large group rushed into the campus from outside and took on Akhil and his friends. In the chaos, Akhil was stabbed.

Students who were willing to talk to reporters said that the SFI units members and those close to them wanted strict control over what was happening in the camps. “It is their writ that runs here. Any attempt to form even a non-political grouping was put down using force,” a student said.

Earlier, a huge controversy had broken out when a first year student attempted suicide allegedly fed up with the diktats of SFI unit members. So vitiated is the ambience of the college that in the last five years 185 students have got their transfer certificate from the College and left.