Amal Jyothi college students in Kerala call off stir; classes to resume on June 12

Move follows ministers’ assurance that crime branch would investigate suicide incident
Ministers R Bindu and V N Vasavan and Chief Whip N Jayaraj holding talks with management of the college in Kanjirappally on Wednesday
Ministers R Bindu and V N Vasavan and Chief Whip N Jayaraj holding talks with management of the college in Kanjirappally on Wednesday

KOTTAYAM: Ending the three-day-long academic impasse, the protests launched by the students at the Amal Jyothi Engineering College, Kanjirappally, following the suicide of Shraddha Satheesh, a second-year Food Technology student in the college, were called off on Wednesday after mediation talks initiated by Higher Education Minister R Bindu, Registration Minister V N Vasavan and Government Chief Whip N Jayaraj.

In the talks held between students and the college management in the presence of ministers, it was also decided to resume classes from Monday.

Students decided to call off protests after ministers assured them that the crime branch would investigate the suicide incident. “A crime branch DySP will investigate the case related to the suicide under the close monitoring of the superintendent of police,” Bindu told reporters.

The minister, however, added that action could not be taken against those against whom students raised allegations regarding the death of Shraddha, for the time being. “We are prima facie unable to initiate action against them. If they are found guilty in the investigation, action will be taken against them. At the same time, students’ demand to remove hostel chief warden Sr Maya from charges has been agreed upon in principle by the management. The management will take a final decision in this regard after consultation with higher authorities of the college,” she said.

In the talks, management also agreed that no retaliatory action will be initiated against students who joined protests. The ministers claimed that the decision to resume classes from Monday was taken after college management and students expressed satisfaction over the talks. However, students said they were not completely satisfied and would wait and watch the outcome of the investigation.

“We want to know the exact reason for the death of Shraddha. We will watch how the investigation progresses. If it is not in the right way, we will resume protests,” said Muhammed Amen, Shraddha’s classmate. As part of efforts to avoid a repeat of such incidents in the future, the minister directed the college authorities to strengthen its students’ counselling mechanism and make it more accessible to students. A direction with regard to strengthening the operations of its students’ grievance cell too has been issued. The college authorities have also agreed to explore the possibility of appointing a students’ union through an election, as proposed by the students. 

Shraddha’s father Satheesh said he would approach the court if the investigation is not found satisfactory. He also accused police of ignoring vital evidence in the initial stage of the investigation.

KTU commences probe

A two-member commission of the Kerala Technological University (KTU) visited the college on Wednesday as part of a university-level probe. The commission comprising syndicate member G Sanjeev, and Dean (Academic) Vinu Thomas took the statements of college teachers, heads of departments and hostel authorities. It will submit a comprehensive report to the vice-chancellor soon. 
Commission member, Sanjeev, said that the college management will be given instructions to strengthen counselling for students and form a college union as per the university Act and laws.

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