Sidharthan's death: Pookode veterinary college shut down from March 5 to 10

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Second-year student JS Sidharthan was found dead on February 18, and he was allegedly subjected to brutal assault for three days before his death. Photo: Special arrangement.

Vythiri: The Kerala Veterinary and Animal Sciences University in Pookode here was shut down on Monday following protests by student organisations and various pending investigations in connection with the death of J S Sidharthan. The varsity's academic director issued an order stating there would be no regular classes from March 5 to 10. All exams scheduled during the period were also postponed. However, there will be online classes.

Meanwhile, all the students in the hostel, where Sidharthan was found hanging, were suspended for a week starting Monday for failing to report the assault on him to the authorities concerned. First-year students too, who were present in the hostel at the time of the incident, were suspended.

According to an anti-ragging squad investigation report, 31 students residing in the same hostel as Sidharthan were involved in the violence against him. Nineteen of the accused who beat Sidharthan have already been expelled from both the hostel and college. They have been barred from writing any exams for one year and cannot join any other course for three years.

The 10 students, who called Sidharthan back to the campus and assaulted him on the instructions of the main accused, were also expelled from the college. They too have been barred from appearing for exams for a year. There were a total of 130 students in the hostel.  

Police add conspiracy charges against accused
The 18 accused in the case were booked for criminal conspiracy on Monday after police clarified that calling Sidharthan back to the campus was a plot to trap him. The cops said there was a clear conspiracy in assaulting him as well. 

Earlier today, the police came under fire for avoiding murder and conspiracy charges against the accused in the case. It was alleged that the police were trying to protect the accused by charging weak sections. Initially, the accused were only booked for abetment to suicide, wrongful restraint and voluntarily causing hurt by dangerous weapons or means under relevant sections of the IPC and the Kerala Prohibition of Ragging Act. Police had made it clear in the remand report that Sidharthan was called back to the campus with the agenda of conducting a mob trial.

While the police have said they require more time to unravel the mystery of whether the death is a murder, Sidharthan's parents cite the injury marks on his body to claim it was not a death by suicide.

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