Shahir Showkath Ali, on whose complaint Chairman Krishnadas was arrested, recounts the assault in the college’s “torture room."

Krishnadas thrashed me threatened to ruin my life Nehru College student narrates ordealShahir (left), P Krishnadas (right)
news Nehru Group Friday, March 24, 2017 - 18:55

22-year-old Shahir Showkath Ali vividly remembers the day he was summoned to the room of Nehru Group Chairman P Krishnadas. 

It was not the first time that this first-year LLB student of the Nehru College of Law in Lakkidi, was meeting the Chairman. But unlike during his earlier interactions, the meeting on January 3 had a different tone altogether. 

On this day, Shahir was taken to the much-dreaded board room in Nehru college's Pampady campus, that the students refer to as the "torture room." For it is here, that the Chairman and the management's Public Relations Officer Samjith have allegedly assaulted those students who dared to speak against irregularities.

Shahir was confined to the room for more than eight hours, he tells The News Minute, at the end of which, he was beaten up, threatened, and made to "own up" crimes he never committed.

"He threatened to destroy my family, claiming that he has the backing of political leaders, be it of the ruling government or the previous one. He thrashed my face and when I covered it with my hands, he held me by the shoulder and kicked on my lower abdomen. When I fell down as a result of this, he kicked my head and left the room," Shahir says.

Two months later, on March 20, Krishnadas was arrested for assaulting Shahir. 

Why was Shahir targeted?

Shahir had raised a complaint with Sutharya Keralam, the Kerala Chief Minister's public grievance cell on October 2, 2016 about the alleged irregularities of the college including excessive collection of fines and unreasonable cutting down on students' attendance.

This was after the students' countless protests went unheard by the management. 

Two months after he lodged this complaint, Shahir was summoned urgently to Principal Sebastian’s office and from there, to Chairman Krishnada’s office.

"I was taken to Pampady campus in an autorickshaw and when I entered Krishnadas' cabin, PRO Samjith was also present there. Upon seeing me, Krishnadas rose in a fit of rage and demanded to know how dare I act against him," Shahir recounts. 

Shahir reportedly spotted a document on Krishnadas’s table when he reached there.

"I could read Sutharya Keralam written on it and I knew what was happening. They might have demanded the college's response on my complaint. Krishnadas told me that he has enough power to hack my entire family and no one would come to know of it. He said that I would never see the light of the day, if he so wishes," Shahir says. 

The management's legal adviser Suchitra, college staff Sreenivasan and Govindankutty, administrative manager Sukumaran too, joined in. According to Shahir, he was then taken to the "torture room", that was adjacent to the Chairman's cabin.

"I was told to give them in writing that I was revoking my complaint with Sutharya Keralam. When I refused, Krishnadas came and assaulted me. I feared that they would not let me go alive if I did not budge. And so I agreed to whatever they said. They made me write that I had ragged juniors and that I was apologizing for it. They even manipulated the date on this paper, they backdated it to December 23," Shahir says

Shahir was then locked up in the room till 5.30pm that evening, and later let off on the condition that he should waste no time in arriving if he was sent for again. Shahir was told that he had been suspended indefinitely from the college. 

Jishnu Pranoy's death

Three days after Shahir was assaulted, first-year student Jishnu Pranoy from the Pampady campus was found dead and a huge uproar followed. Jishnu’s alleged suicide made headlines and ignited widespread protests across the state. In due course, details around Shahir's suspension were also revealed.

"Though I had told my parents about the suspension, I did not however, reveal much information about the assault. When Jishnu died, I knew that the management's game was over and the truth would now come out," Shahir says. 

On February 27, a few days after the management gave Shahir his transfer certificate, he proceeded to file a complaint with Pazhayannur police. However, the police booked Krishnadas under bailable offences and according to Shahir, the police was allegedly trying to suppress the investigation.

Now, Shahir has joined another college and is pursuing his education, in the hope that the Nehru college management, that has wronged many students, will be punished by law. 

Jishnu’s mother, in a plea to the Supreme Court, has also mentioned about the ‘Torture Room’. Read here.

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