The Cochin University of Science and Technology (CUSAT) in Ernakulam on Wednesday shut down its engineering school campus for an indefinite period following a suicide bid by a first year civil engineering student in his hostel room.
Exams scheduled for Wednesday were postponed till further notification, while BTech students were asked to vacate the university hostel at the earliest.
A native of Kuttiyadi in Kozhikode, Muhammed Sherin reportedly tried to kill himself by slashing his wrist around 3pm on Tuesday. He was shifted to a private hospital at Kalamassery where his condition is said to be stable.
His friends told the media that around 15 to 20 students allegedly belonging to the Student Federation of India (SFI –the student wing of the Communist Party of India-Marxist) had repeatedly assaulted Sherin with a flag pole on the head for attending classes despite an SFI strike that was called on 23 September.
Accusations continue to be traded by both sides in the backdrop of the incident. While Sherin's friends insist that he was being continuously harassed by SFI for not being part of any students’ organisation, the leftist students’ group terms the suicide attempt a drama enacted to cover up the real issue.
Speaking to The News Minute, Sreejesh - SFI president of CUSAT- accused Sherin of belonging to a gang which indulged in drugs: "There are a few groups present inside the campus that use drugs and seek to create trouble at every function. Last time, on Freshers’ day, they abused a girl. We filed a complaint with the Principal. When the same incident repeated itself, we registered our complaint with both the Principal and the police, leading to the suspension of one of the group members on Tuesday. The remaining members too were to be suspended. This boy who attempted suicide was one among them. This is hence fabricated news just to escape suspension.”
Susanth Shaji -CUSAT College Union Executive member and Kerala Students Union (KSU affiliated to Indian National Congress) leader- however sought to disagree. "As far I know, there is no impending disciplinary action against Sherin. He had not taken part in the strike called by SFI. On that day, he was threatened by SFI workers and did not come to college for the next two to three days. When he rejoined on Tuesday, they threatened him again. That was what led to his suicide bid. It is a clear case of ragging," Susanth opined.
Kalamassery Circle Inspector Jayakrishnan S confirmed to TNM that the police have registered a case against four senior students who are also SFI activists -Amal Mohan, Sajad, Dhaneesh and Mousin- in this regard.
In Sherin's statement to the police, he said he was not in a position to continue attending the college after the assault, and hence decided to take his own life.