Close to three months after Jishnu Pranoy, an engineering student’s death, the family stills awaits for justice to be served against college management and authorities who abetted their son’s suicide. In an irony of sorts on the 60th anniversary of Kerala’s first Ministry coming into power, a mother protesting for justice was not only manhandled but arrested for staging a protest in front of DGP Loknath Behera’s office.
Jishnu’s mother, Mahija was not only stopped from holding a hunger strike in front of the police headquarters, but dragged by women police officials and forcefully taken to the Nandavanam police camp along with the remaining family members. As she complained about uneasiness while being taken to the police camp, she was admitted to a government hospital at Peroorkada and later shifted to the Trivandrum Medical College.
An angered mob gathered outside the DGP’s office, tried stopping Loknath Behera’s car. UDF as well as BJP has called for a hartal to protest against such behaviour by the police. Among arrested were also his father, uncle and 11 other family members.
In what seemed like an attempt to pacify Jishnu’s relatives, Nehru Group Chairman P. Krishnadas was arrested yesterday, only to be released on bail after questioning him for few hours. Jishnu’s mother, Mahija reacted saying that the arrest was a drama staged by the police.
Police atrocity against Mahija and other relatives led to an outbreak of angry messages on social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter.
Actor Joy Matthew posted on his social media page, “Rajan’s father, Eachara Warrier fought for justice for his son, an engineering student, till he died. And today, the Left who has climbed to power at the cost of students/comrades like Rajan, denies justice to a mother who lost her son to malpractice and harassment. The same government made a move for judicial enquiry to prove the innocence of a minister who fell into a honey trap within hours of the incident. However, manhandled and arrested a mother who sought justice for her son.”
Athul Jose, secretary of the SFI (Student Federation of India), Nehru College, says, “This isn’t acceptable. There is no need for the police to react in such an inhumane manner. Of course the students are angry and we are planning a protest soon.”
“Police action has certainly been high-handed and reprehensible. The government must ask for public apology to be made to Jishnu’s family for the humiliating treatment meted out in front of the DGP’s office,” says senior journalist, BRP Bhaskar.
Reacting to the recent incidents, Administrative Reforms Commission chairman and senior CPI(M) leader V. S. Achuthanandan apparently called up the DGP Loknath Behra and was critical of the police actions. He asked, “Instead of arresting culprits, is the police trying to arrest the complainants? Are you trying to bring disrepute to this government?”
“Arresting complainants wasn’t the right thing to do. One cannot stage a protest in front of the DGP’s office. However, there was no need to manhandle her. Now, the CM should take proper decisions to remedy this mess,” says V. Joy, Varkala MLA.
The New Indian Express reports, The Kerala State Human Rights Commission (KSHRC) has registered a suo-moto case in connection with the police action taken against Jishnu Prannoy’s mother Mahija .
DGP Loknath Behra has released a statement on Facebook regarding today’s incident. He says, “From the beginning, the case was taken seriously by Police. A special investigation team was constituted with an IPS officer Ms. Kiran Narayanan as the Chief Investigating officer with an experienced officer as other Investigating officer. We also got an experienced advocate as Special Prosecutor. The Special Investigation Team formed for this case has done work as per law. We are taking all steps to trace out the absconding accused. A special team under SP Sri. Akbar IPS was constituted to locate them. The Police even took the matter to the Hon’ble Supreme Court. All scientific methods were used during the investigation of the case which is based purely on circumstantial evidence. We still keep a very open mind in the case and ready to take all legal and systematic action after talking to the family members. Action is underway, through the Court, to declare the absconding accused as Proclaimed offenders and attach their property.”
Kerala Police has also released a statement on their official Facebook page regarding the police action against Mahija and other relatives. They claim that people from outside have invaded into the group that came with Jishnu’s mother and it was those people who have created all the problems.
Recently WhatsApp messages of Jishnu to his friends seeking an extension for the exam dates in order to study more, were made public recently. It is inferred that these messages might have displeased the management which lead to mistreatment of Jishnu. Post the engineering student’s death on 6th January, Vice principal N. K. Sakthivel, faculty member C. P. Praveen, and Public Relations Officer of the college K. V. Sanjith, were suspended. However, the students had also demanded that the Dr. A. S. Varadarajan too, should be asked to step down and the management held accountable for inflicting physical and mental harm on Jishnu.
Jishnu’s parents want all those involved in Jishnu’s death to be arrested and a thorough investigation to be conducted regarding their son’s death. While campuses of self-financed colleges turn into torture chambers for students, to whom can the students or the parents turn to, for their problems to be addressed?
Cover Image Courtesy: NDTV