KOCHI: A clash over a graffiti between workers of SFI and Campus Front - the student wing of SDPI, an Islamic political outfit - led to the killing of an SFI student leader at the Maharaja's College here in the early hours of Monday.
Abhimanyu, 20, a second-year BSc Environmental Chemistry student, was stabbed to death. According to the police, he succumbed to injuries immediately after he was brought to the nearby Ernakulam General Hospital.
A native of Vattavada in Idukki, he was a district committee member of SFI. The Ernakulam Central Police have taken into custody three Campus Front sympathisers - Bilal, of Kottayam, Farook, of Pathanamthitta, and Riyas, from Fort Kochi.
Arjun, 19, a BA Philosophy student and an SFI member, sustained serious stab injuries in the clash. He is under treatment at a private hospital. The hospital authorities said his condition remains critical. Vineeth, another student, who also sustained stab injuries, is undergoing treatment at Ernakulam Govt. General Hospital.
Police officers said they suspect the involvement of criminal elements from outside, who were 'hired' by Campus Front, for the murder.
"A group of 10-15 members was behind the attack," said Ernakulam Central CI A Ananthalal.
"Of the three in custody, only one is a student of the college while another is a fresher to the college where the classes were scheduled to commence on Monday. The third person is from outside the campus. The hunt for the remaining suspects is progressing." Bilal, a native of Kottayam, Farook, from Pathanamthitta and Riyas, from Fort Kochi are taken into custody in connection with the incident.
According to the police officers, Mohammed, a student of Maharaja's College and leader of Campus Front, is the kingpin and is absconding. He is a native of Mulavukadu in Kochi. According to the officers, Mohammed brought the others from Aluva and outside the district to the campus.
The incident was triggered by an argument between the two groups over graffiti on the walls booked by the SFI workers.
Abhimanyu was painting the walls of the campus to welcome the new batch of students whose classes were to begin on Monday. College authorities said that regular classes have been suspended for two days.
The body of Abhimanyu was handed over to the relatives after conducting an autopsy at the Ernakulam General Hospital. Finance Minister Thomas Issac, M Swaraj MLA and others reached the hospital to pay last respects.
The SFI has called for a state-wide strike and boycott of classes on Monday in protest against the killing of Abhimanyu.