Though tension is brewing in the college and outside over the issue, the memorial which is in its last stage of construction, remains intact.

Why a memorial for slain SFI member Abhimanyu is stirring controversy in Kerala
news Controversy Monday, July 01, 2019 - 18:06

It will be one year on Tuesday since Abhimanyu, a Students Federation of India (SFI) member and student of Maharaja’s college in Kochi, was murdered. Even while the slain student’s parents have raised concerns about the police not being able to nab all the accused related with the case even when it is almost a year since the murder, another row has now erupted over a memorial of Abhimanyu set up in the college where he had been studying.

On Monday, Kerala Students Union (KSU), student’s wing of the Congress party, conducted a protest march to Ernakulam district collector’s camp office, against the installation of Abhimanyu’s memorial in Maharaja’s college. KSU leaders allege that SFI — student wing of CPI(M), is trying to use this opportunity for their own gains by making a party martyr’s memorial inside an educational institution.

Abhimanyu, a 20-year-old BSc Chemistry student in Maharaja’s college, was stabbed to death on July 2, 2018, in a clash that broke out between students of SFI and Campus Front of India in the college.  

Aloysius Xavier, Ernakulam district president of KSU, told TNM that their protest is not only in this regard, but also against the police not being able to arrest all the accused in the case. “It is a fact that we are against erecting a party martyr’s memorial inside the college, but we are also concerned about the police laxity in not getting hold of every accused in the case even when a year has passed since the murder,” said Aloysius.

KSU also alleges that the memorial was being erected without the permission of college authorities or officials concerned.

Meanwhile, SFI unit in Maharaja’s college rejected the claim that the memorial was set up as that of a party martyr. “There is a tradition in this college that if any students lose their lives while studying here, a memorial will be set up to remember them always. There are two such memorials here – a pond and a bench – as a remembrance of two students who lost their lives earlier. Likewise, Abhimanyu’s friends took the initiative to set up this memorial. It was not an initiative of SFI, though his friends from SFI were also at the forefront,” Jithin KJ, SFI president of the college told TNM.

SFI also alleged that KSU had some vested interests in bringing up this issue now, on the first anniversary of Abhimanyu’s murder. “This construction work for the memorial was going on since the past one month. They did not have any problem all this while, and when we are about to mark the first anniversary of the murder, they are creating an unnecessary issue,” said Jithin.

Though tension is brewing in the campus and outside over the issue, the memorial which is in its last stage of construction remains intact.

Meanwhile, the college administration maintains that KSU’s claim that the memorial was being constructed without necessary permission holds true. Principal in charge of Maharaja’s college told TNM that the administration was not intimated about construction of such a structure inside the college premises. “Since this is a government property, we have intimated the authorities concerned about the structure being erected,” said Dr Jaya, principal-in-charge of the college.

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