Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Not taking part in protest cost him his life - Student drowns after campus gang chases him into river

CHENNAI: In a horrifying incident of campus violence, a student of an arts college in Chennai was chased into the Adyar river, pelted with stones as he tried to get back to the riverbank, and left to drown by a group of fellow students. His body was recovered from the Adyar on Tuesday. Classmates said the gang chased 21-year-old K Thanikaivel into the river, and as he tried to save himself, hurled stones at him. The police have registered a case of "suspicious death" and made no arrests so far.

Thanikaivel`s classmates, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said he was chased by a group from the Nandanam Arts College on Monday afternoon after a quarrel over an anti-corruption protest in which he refused to participate. "Some 20 students chased him. He ran towards the back of the college. The gang returned half-an-hour later, but Thanikaivel didn`t," said a student.

When he failed to turn up until Monday evening, his friends informed the family and they lodged a complaint at Saidapet police station. Thanikaivel studied economics and lived on New Avadi Road here. Acting on Thanikaivel`s father Kannappan`s complaint, Saidapet police searched for the missing student. On Tuesday morning, they found his body in the river.

The body was sent to Government hospital in Royapettah for postmortem. "We will get the autopsy report on Wednesday. We are waiting for the doctor`s report to continue our investigation," said Adyar deputy commissioner of police K A Senthilvelan. Police said there were no external injuries on the body.

"Thanikaivel and his friends refused to take part in the protest," said N Prakash, a college student. In the last one year, there have been four incidents of campus violence in the college in which students were seriously injured.

The two groups of students quarreled inside the college on Monday. "One group overpowered the other. They then targeted Thanikaivel as he was the leader, and chased him into the river," said Prakash, quoting eyewitnesses. "They said Thanikaivel jumped into the river to escape beating. But the students followed him and pelted stones at him. When Thanikaivel fainted, the students returned to the college leaving him in the river," said Prakash.

Saidapet police have registered a case under section 174 (suspicious death) of the Code of Criminal Procedure. Kannappan, who is a retired head constable, has lodged a complaint with the Saidapet police demanding a probe.


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