Pookkode Veterinary University: An SFI den where voices of dissent are silenced

Kerala Veterinary and Animal Sciences University (KVASU) campus at Pookkode, Wayanad. Photo credit: Wikimedia commons

Wayanad: The Kerala Veterinary and Animal Sciences University (KVASU) campus at Pookkode, Wayanad has been an SFI citadel where followers of other political views were either silenced or forced to fall in line with its diktats. For students seeking political expression, aligning with the SFI becomes the only viable option.

This unwavering dominance of the SFI explains why there was a conspicuous absence of dissent following the tragic death of Sidharth JS, a second year degree student.

“Whether it is conflicts among students, complaints of teachers against students and administrative issues, the last word came from student leaders,” said a teacher who spoke to Onmanorama on condition of anonymity. “With goons to impart punishment to 'erring' students, pro-left staff to extend administrative support and Kangaroo courts to persecute those who refuse to fall in line, the campus has become a place of intimidation and fear,” the teacher said.  

Even teachers and staff live under constant fear
Even faculty and staff members who attempt to raise objections find themselves under surveillance, with many too apprehensive to even communicate about the troubling occurrences within the campus.

 It was through the efforts of a few courageous individuals that Sidharth's family learned the truth behind his demise.

Jayaprakash T, father of Sidharth told Onmanorama that a few students who brought Sidharth's mortal remains to the family were sobbing when they narrated the atrocities meted out to him. “Till then I was under the impression that Sidharth's death was a case of suicide and wondering the reason behind it,” he added. “One student told me that they were threatened of extreme consequences by an SFI leader if they revealed the facts behind Sidharth's death,” he added. “Even teachers and administrative heads of the campus are mere puppets dancing to the tunes of these SFI goons. There are many other students who were tortured along the same lines,” Jayaprakash said.

Recently another student was killed on the campus under mysterious circumstances in an accident near the main entrance of the institution when he was riding a bike. The kith and kin of the youth had raised suspicions about his death.  In another case, a female student had complained of sexual abuse by another student. Despite a series of complaints, the issue was purportedly hushed up as the accused was a strong LDF activist. Instead of taking action against the accused, the female student was forced to relocate to another institution under the Varsity for the same course.  Clashes between students are a usual affair on the campus.

JS Sidharth. Photo: Special arrangement

CPM unhappy with campus
Even members of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) (CPM) overseeing the campus express dissatisfaction with the organization's autonomy and lack of adherence to party discipline.“We are not even visiting the campus. They have a free reign with no takers for party discipline,” said a CPM leader who was in charge of the campus. However, SFI district president Joyal Joseph told Onmanorama that the district unit of SFI has no role in the happenings of KVASU Pookkode campus. “We came to know about the issues only when 12 students were suspended by the institution,” he said, adding that it is the state committee that controls the SFI unit at the varsity.  “We have demanded action against all the culprits and also sought a foolproof investigation covering all aspects,” he added.

'Remaining accused to be arrested soon'
DySP T N Sajeev told reporters here that all the remaining accused would be arrested soon. The police are on the lookout for 9 more accused including union member Asif Khan. The president of the College Union K Arun and SFI unit secretary Amal Ihsan had surrendered  on Thursday and the prime accused Akhil was nabbed by the police. Six others were arrested by the police earlier.

Preparations are on to issue lookout notices against the remaining accused, DySp Sajeev said. On the alleged complaint of a senior girl student against Sidharth, he said that so far there was no complaint against Sidharth.

Chief Minister orders DGP to constitute a SIT 
Meanwhile, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan ordered the Director General of Police to constitute a Special Investigation Team to probe the suicide of  Sidharth, according to a press statement from the CM's office. "Strict action should be initiated against all the accused,” he said. 

SFI against ragging and brutality: PM Arsho
However, SFI state secretary PM Arsho dismissed the allegations against SFI as mere cooked-up stories. “We always initiate strict action against those involved in ragging-related incidents,” he said, adding that all the four SFI workers including the unit secretary have been expelled from the organization with immediate effect.

“Among the total 18 accused now enlisted by police, there are only four SFI workers,” he said. Criticizing the media attack on SFI, Arsho said that it was the individuals who had committed the crime, not the organization. “We neither support nor retain such elements in the organization,” he added.   

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