The cause of death of 52-year-old Chandran Unnithan, a member of the Sabarimala Karma Samiti, was from injuries to the skull and subsequent bleeding, says the preliminary finding of the doctors who conducted the autopsy. The autopsy was conducted at the Kottayam Government Medical College hospital on Thursday morning. The Koorambala native suffered a wound to the head at around 6.30 PM during clashes with CPI(M) and subsequent stone pelting by CPI(M) cadres who were at the party office in Pandalam. Chandran was rushed to a hospital in Pandalam and when his condition worsened, he was moved to the Believers Church Medical College hospital in Thiruvalla, where he was declared dead.
The finding contradicts Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan's statement that Chandran had died of cardiac arrest. Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Thursday morning told the media, "There was tension at Pandalam at 6.30 pm yesterday. A person named Chandran Unnithan got injured in it. As per the information received he died of cardiac arrest at the Believer's Church hospital at 11 pm. Cardiac arrest can't be due to stone pelting."
However, both the Kottayam Medical College and Believers Church Medical College found that there were deep injuries on his skull which caused heavy bleeding, and led to his death. "The cause of death as of preliminary examination is from the skull injuries. Though he was a heart patient, it is the injuries that lead to bleeding and death," a source in Kottayam Medical College said.
The death summary given by the Believers Church Medical College states that Chandran was "actively bleeding from right ear, nose and mouth. At 9.50 pm the patient went into cardiac arrest. The patient was declared clinically expired at 10.48 pm." The summary signed by Dr Manoj Thomas Mathew from the Emergency Medicine Department said that though CPR protocol was initiated, he could not be resuscitated.
Chandran is a member of Sabarimala Karma Samithi, an umbrella organisation of groups that oppose the entry of menstruating women into the Sabarimala temple. Two CPI(M) cadres have been arrested in relation to his death. Chandran's family told the media that CPI(M) cadres who were in the party office attacked the Samara Samiti's rally without any provocation. The CPI(M) has however refuted this and has instead claimed that members of the Samara Samiti pelted stones first. The Pathanamthitta Superintendent of Police told media that the Samara Samiti had taken out a protest without permission.