Delhi Police on Wednesday registered a case of abetment to suicide and also under the SC/ST prevention of atrocities act against unknown persons to probe the death of JNU research scholar J Muthukrishnan. He was found hanging at his friend’s place in Munirka Vihar on Monday evening.
According to students at University of Hyderabad, where Muthukrishnan pursued postgraduation, he was a friend of Rohith Vemula, another Dalit student who killed himself in January 2016, sparking nationwide outrage over caste discrimination on campuses.
While the police suspected that Muthukrishnan may have been under depression due to which he allegedly committed suicide, his father Jeevanantham alleged foul play and demanded a CBI probe.
On Tuesday, he filed a police complaint alleging that his son was facing harassment in JNU because of his caste and a thorough investigation must be conducted into the suspicious death of his son. Jeevanantham said his son was not under any medication for depression. Meanwhile, Muthukrishnan’s postmortem was also conducted and his body sent back to his town. According to sources, the initial findings of the autopsy suggested that he died of asphyxia, the final report is however awaited.
On Wednesday morning, minister of state for commerce, Nirmala Sitharaman, also a former JNU student, and minister of state for shipping, Pon Radhakrishnan, along with a group of students and other AIADMK leaders gathered at the mortuary where a post-mortem examination was conducted. The ministers and students demanded a thorough probe in the matter and requested registration of an FIR.
Following this, a case based on the complaint of Muthukrishnan’s father has been registered. “We have registered a case of abetment to suicide and under the SC/ST act based on the complaint of the father of the deceased. We will now look into the claims and allegations made in the complaint,”DCP South, Ishwar Singh said.
Muthukrishnan’s father in his complaint alleged that he was not convinced that his son committed suicide. “After looking at the posture of his body, I am not convinced that he committed suicide. I have serious doubts regarding the suicide. I have also been told that my son was facing constant caste-based harassment and discrimination in his academic pursuits from his centre and the JNU administration. I request the police to carry out a thorough investigation in the suspicious death (not suicide) of my son and register an FIR under relevant sections including the SC/ST Prevention of Atrocities Act in the matter,” his complaint read.
A five-member expert team constituted by the head of forensic medicine department at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), that conducted the postmortem ‘did not find anything on autopsy suggestive of any foul play’.
“It is a case of death due to asphyxia as a result of hanging. There were no injury marks anywhere on his body,” said Dr Sudhir Gupta, head of forensic medicine department. The entire post-mortem process was video-graphed and photographed to ensure transparency. “Though there is no room for doubt, we still have preserved his viscera sample for chemical analysis if required later on,” said Dr Gupta.
Sources also said that the case may be transferred to the crime branch for a detailed investigation.