University Dean knew everything, should be arraigned as accused, says Sidharthan's father

The deceased student Sidharth JS (L) and his father Jayaprakash T (R). Photo: Manorama News

Amid the escalating controversy over the death of Pookkode Veterinary University's second-year student Sidharthan J S, his father accused the University Dean of involvement in the events leading to his son's death.
Expressing disbelief that the Dean Dr M K Narayanan could have been unaware of the incident, Sidharthan's father Jayaprakash T said that the former instructed students to keep mum. “The Dean should be made an accused in the case. He knew everything,” he said.

The university registrar had sought clarification from Narayanan on why the assault on Siddharth went unreported for several days. In response, Narayanan attributed the delayed response to a busy schedule but assured that immediate action was taken upon discovery of the assault. He also announced measures to enhance security on campus, including the recruitment of additional security personnel and the installation of more CCTV cameras.

Opposition leader V D Satheesan also supported the father's demand to arraign the Dean as the accused in the case. "The UDF will initiate strong protests if the government does not take steps to control the SFI and arrest the accused," Satheesan said.

Two more arrests
Police on Friday arrested two more persons in connection with Sidharthan's death. The two had surrendered last night following the intense pressure exerted on them by the cops, a senior police officer said.

Besides them, a third accused was caught from Kollam district on Thursday and is currently in police custody, the officer said, adding that his arrest has not yet been recorded. At present, nine students have been arrested in connection with the death of 20-year-old Sidharthan, who was found hanging in his hostel bathroom on February 18.

Minister visits Sidharthan's house
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.

JS Sidharth. Photo: Special arrangement

SFI state leaders also met Sidharthan's family on Thursday under the leadership of SFI State President K Anusree and remarked that all the culprits should be brought before the law and punished.

Congress leaders meet family
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.

SIT probe

Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Thursday directed the state police chief to form a Special Investigation Team (SIT) to probe Sidharthan'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.

Sidharthan'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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