As many as 120 self-financing engineering colleges in Kerala has decided to shut down for a day on Thursday to protest the vandalisation of their state head office in Kochi by activists of the Congress-Kerala Students Union (KSU) on Wednesday.
The decision was taken by the representatives of these engineering colleges after a meeting in Kochi, saying that Thursday's protest was just a warning and if the attacks on their establishments do not stop, they will be forced to shut down permanently.
The immediate provocation of the KSU vandalisation was the suicide of Jishnu, an 18-year-old computer science student, who hanged himself in his college hostel bathroom at the Nehru College of Engineering and Research, Thrissur, last week, after being unable to stand the harassment allegedly meted out by the college authorities.
A group of angry KSU activists shouting slogans smashed the window panes of the office but before any further damage could be caused, the police arrived and took the protestors into custody.
Since the suicide news surfaced, uneasy calm has been prevailing among the student community across the state, who have alleged that in numerous colleges, the managements threaten the students who do not toe the line.
The meeting also decided to ask the Ethics Committee of the management association of these engineering colleges to conduct a probe into what happened to Jishnu in the college.
The Kerala government on Wednesday sanctioned a sum of Rs one million to the family of the student and a police probe has already begun.
"We have decided to appoint a committee which will study the entire functioning of self-financing colleges," State Education Minister C. Raveendranath told reporters in Thiruvananthapuram soon after the cabinet meeting.