Campus violence: Four SFI activists arrested

Blank university answer sheets, college seals seized

The State police on Sunday arrested four Students Federation of India (SFI) activists in connection with the near-fatal knife attack on their college mate and fellow party member Akhil at University College here last Friday.

They identified the accused as Aromal, Adhil, Adwaith and Ijab; all undergraduate students and members of the SFI college unit committee.

The police were cagey about the circumstances of their arrest. However, the remand report indicated that the police had detained them near the Central Railway Station, Thampanoor.

Lookout notice

The arrests were made soon after the police published lookout notices for the wanted men in the face of mounting criticism that local law enforcers were loath to actively pursue the accused owing to their close links with the ruling Communist Party of India (Marxist).

Another five SFI men wanted in the case remained fugitives from the law. They are Sivarenjith, Ibrahim, Nazeem, Amar and Renjith.

The police mounted a raid on the house of Sivarenjith at Attukal and said they had discovered bundles of Kerala University answer sheets issued to students sitting for examinations. They also found official seals used by the physical training department in the college. A set of persons armed with iron rods attempted to dissuade media persons from covering the inspections led by Circle Inspector Anil Kumar.

The police case was the SFI men had punished Akhil for his open defiance of the diktats of the college unit committee, including singing songs in public.

Akhil suffered a heart injury, which has cast a grim shadow over his future as an amateur weight lifter. His family told journalists that Akhil had invested much in the sports in the hope that he could gain a government job.

The attack on Akhil had prompted a spontaneous protest by students against what many of them described as the hegemony of the SFI on the campus. The CPI(M) leadership, which was grappling with the Lok Sabha election debacle, had found itself in the back foot in the face of the anti-SFI protests.

CPI(M) State secretary Kodiyeri Balakrishna on Sunday visited Akhil at the hospital and condemned the attack.

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