Maharaja’s College in Kerala’s Ernakulam district has been shut down indefinitely to prevent escalation of the simmering tension between the student organisations Students Federation of India (SFI) and Fraternity Movement. Members of SFI, the students’ wing of the ruling CPI(M), had alleged that a few students affiliated to the Fraternity Movement had stabbed their association’s unit secretary Abdul Nasar PA at around 1 am on Thursday, January 18. The SFI had earlier protested the alleged stabbing of Nizamudheen KM, an assistant professor in the college’s Arabic department, by members of the Fraternity Movement.
According to a The Hindu report, the Central Police on Friday, January 19, arrested one of the 19 suspects in connection with the attack on Abdul Nasar. The arrested student was identified as Ijilal, who is affiliated to the Kerala Students Union (KSU), and is the eighth accused in the case.
The college hostel was closed and the arts festival, scheduled to begin on Thursday, was also called off due to the incident. The decision was taken at an emergency meeting organised by the college authorities, who have sought police protection at the campus. A detailed report, which will probe the continuous clashes including the one between SFI and KSU recently, will be submitted to the Department of Higher Education. An all-party meeting to sort out the issues between the associations has been postponed as per a government directive.
Following the attack, Abdul Nasar was taken to the Ernakulam General Hospital and was later shifted to the Medical Trust Hospital in the city. Hospital authorities said that he sustained a fracture on his hands and other wounds that might have been caused by a sharp object like a beer bottle.
Based on a complaint by Nasar, Ernakulam Central police officials registered a case, under sections including 307 (murder attempt) of the Indian Penal Code, against Fraternity Movement members suspected to be involved in the case. The alleged attack by Fraternity Movement members came just a day after SFI members staged a protest against the former for allegedly attacking Nizamudheen KM. Fraternity Movement members had also registered a complaint against the faculty member for acting in favour of SFI while ignoring other student organisations.
Speaking to the media, Fraternity Movement state president KM Shefrin denied SFI’s charges and said it was SFI who was carrying out attacks against third-year students for losing a post to the KSU, the Congress’ students’ wing, in the college union election. “A majority of those booked in the case belong to KSU. Yet, there is a concerted effort to blame us for the attack on the SFI unit secretary,” he added.