Kerala student Sidharthan’s death: CBI says he was brutally assaulted, died by suicide

A total of 19 students have been charged for multiple offences, including abetment to suicide and ragging.
Kerala student Sidharthan’s death: CBI says he was brutally assaulted, died by suicide
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The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) that investigated the death of veterinary student JS Sidharthan, has concluded that repeated physical assault, humiliation and harassment by his college mates, abetted him to die by suicide. 

Sidharthan, a second year student at the College of Veterinary and Animal Sciences in Pookode, Wayanad, was found dead in the hostel on February 18, after being tortured by his seniors and batchmates. A total of 19 students have been charged for multiple offences, including abetment to suicide and ragging.

On allegations that he harassed a female student, Sidharthan was summoned to the hostel, brutally assaulted and humiliated by stripping off his clothes and forced to make an apology in front of the students.

“This humiliation and harassment deprived the deceased Sidharthan of his self-respect and dignity. Furthermore, after beating and humiliating him, the accused persons did not provide medical care or offer consolation to alleviate his mental trauma, thereby abetting Sidharthan JS to commit suicide,” the report concluded.

The CBI submitted its final report to the Chief Judicial Magistrate Court in Ernakulam on April 25. Most of the CBI's findings align with those in an interim report by an anti-ragging squad, indicating that Sidharthan was brutally tortured in the hostel.

The inquiry revealed that the issue started after Sidharthan allegedly misbehaved with one of his female classmates. On February 12, Sidharthan allegedly misbehaved with the student more than once and apologized later. The report said that the student first informed Muhammed Dhanish, the 12th accused in the case, about the incident. The investigation found that Sidharthan made an apology via WhatsApp. 

Additionally, the report stated that the accused in the case conspired and planned to question and physically assault Sidharthan. 

On February 14, he was brutally tortured in room number 21 of the hostel. “They started questioning him regarding the alleged misbehavior and coerced him into confessing. The accused persons – Amal Ihsan A, Sinjo Johnson, N Asif Khan, Arun K, Kashinathan RS, Ameen Akberali U, Altaf A, Ajay J, Adithyan V, Muhammed Dhanish M, Dones Daie, Billgate Joshwa Thannikode, and Soud Risal – physically assaulted Siddarthan JS using a leather belt, a cable wire from a glue gun, as well as their hands and legs. Siddarthan was forced to remove his pants and shirt, and was made to remain in his underwear only,” the report said. At least four SFI members – college union president K Arun, SFI unit secretary Amal Ihsan, and members Asif Khan and S Abhishek – were involved in this. 

The CBI report mentions in detail the torture inflicted on Siddarthan by each accused. It states that the "assault, criminal intimidation, and humiliation continued until around 12 am on 17.02.2024." 

“Partially naked and taken to the courtyard of the hostel, he was further tortured and humiliated by being compelled to loudly confess his guilt before the inmates of the men's hostel, especially in front of the first-year students. Sidharthan JS was also prevented from getting up and repeatedly pushed down by the accused who surrounded him and blocked his movement. This continued till 1 am”, the report said. 

Even the anti ragging squad report stated that Sidharthan was assaulted at four different places — the hill top near the water tank in front of the men’s hostel, room number 21 on the first floor of the hostel, the hostel courtyard, and the corridor at the entrance of the dormitory.

All the 19 accused in the case have been charged under sections 120B (criminal conspiracy), 341 (wrongful restraint), 323 (voluntarily causing hurt), 324 (voluntarily causing hurt by dangerous weapons or means), 342 (wrongful confinement), 355 (assault or criminal force with intent to dishonor person), 306 (abetment of suicide), and 506 (criminal intimidation) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), as well as under sections 4 and 3 of The Kerala Prohibition of Ragging Act, 1998.

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