Days after four medical students at the prestigious Christian Medical College in Vellore tortured to death a monkey, its alumni have reacted with shock and anger at the brutal killing.
Sara* who spent nearly 30 years at CMC Vellore, studying and thereafter working at the institute, said news of the killing was heart-breaking. Although the campus -she recalled- had witnessed sporadic incidents where people would chase monkeys with air guns or burst fire crackers, the college had never witnessed such a crime.
â€śThis is sure cause for concern because it showcases the evil in a child. No animal could have provoked such behaviour. Animals behave instinctively and sometimes do disrupt our lives. But this is no excuse for barbarity,â€ť she pointed out.
While the college has suspended the four students who tied, tortured and stabbed to death a female monkey that had strayed into the college hostel, many alumni have demanded that they be expelled from the institute.
â€śThey deserve to be expelled, not just suspended. Itâ€™s not possible to become a doctor when one preserves a cruel streak,â€ť says Rebecca*, from the 2003 batch.
The first sentence of the instituteâ€™s mission statement reads, â€śThe primary concern of the Christian Medical College, Vellore is to develop through education and training, compassionate, professionally excellent, ethically sound individuals who will go out as servant-leaders of health teams and healing communities.â€ť
For Rahul*, a post-graduate student at CMC Vellore, Saturdayâ€™s barbaric torture and killing of a monkey, broke quite a few of the instituteâ€™s guiding principles. He says, â€śIt is indeed a sad and shameful event for CMC, and the Christian healing ministry we all represent. It breaks all foundations and principles we have been taught with regard to our service and our faith.â€ť
Like Rebecca, Rahul demands stronger punishment, arguing these students would one day become doctors who treat patients in the future. â€śThis is like something out of a horror flick. Serial killers torture animals, before they shift focus to humans. And to know that it happened in our own town, and by our own students. We are supposed to be compassionate and caring. Now I'm not so sure what we are,â€ť shudders Rahul, who grew up on the campus in Vellore.
Sara however, dismisses the idea that the collegeâ€™s reputation is at stake, observing that such incidents do happen. She feels that expelling the students may not necessarily be required: â€śI donâ€™t know what exactly happened out there, and am not familiar with the list of acts that call for a suspension. I am not sure whether expulsion is allowed in medical institutes. But I donâ€™t think they could actually opt for another punishment.â€ť
For many students, alumni and faculty at CMC Vellore, the brutal killing of an innocent animal is indeed a dark day in the instituteâ€™s history. But they hope that the incident will be the last.
(*Names have been changed on request)