Kerala police on Wednesday arrested the parents of an engineering student, who allegedly committed suicide in January, while they were staging a hunger strike to demand a fair probe outside the state police headquarters in Thiruvananthapuram.
Jishnu Prannoy was found hanging at Nehru College of Engineering and Research, a private college in Thrissur, on January 6 after being allegedly harassed by college authorities who said he was copying from another student during an exam.
His parents, who are protesting for the last three months, have alleged their son was murdered by the college authorities after he questioned some of their actions and that the police were going slow in the case.
Though the government constituted a special investigation team, Jishnu’s parents have alleged that the investigation was not going in the right direction and allegedly helped some of the accused to get anticipatory bail. The SIT booked 5 people out of which 3 have obtained bail and 2 are absconding.
The family, hailing from Kozhikode in north Kerala, arrived at the state capital to inquire about the inordinate delay in the probe and said they would stage a dharna outside the police headquarters if they won’t get a satisfactory reply.
As soon as they arrived outside the director general of police (DGP) office an argument ensued and all relatives were forcibly removed from the venue. Jishnu’s mother Mahija, father P Ashokan and uncle Sreejith were injured in the melee. Mahija reportedly received a few blows and collapsed.
As the issue triggered widespread condemnation, the police justified their action saying they were not arrested but only removed from the spot. State police chief Ramon Srivastava later called on the injured mother at the hospital and asked the southern range IG to submit a report immediately.
The opposition Congress and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) have called a shutdown Thiruvananthapuram and Kozhikode districts on Thursday to protest the police action on Jishnu’s parents.
“It is an inhuman attitude. The poor mother who was seeking justice was attacked by the police without any reason,” Congress leader Ramesh Chennithala said.
“The latest incident reminds us of Emergency days,” BJP state president Kummanam Rajasekahran said.
However, the ruling CPI(M) criticised opposition parties for taking political mileage out of a tragic incident.