IDUKKI: Manoharan, 58, and his wife Bhoopathy, 50, had pinned their hopes on their youngest son to secure a better future. But all their hopes now lie in tatters. They couldn’t believe their ears when they heard on Monday that Abhimanyu, a BSc chemistry student of Maharaja’s College in Ernakulam, had been allegedly stabbed to death by Campus Front activists.
Abhimanyu, 20, was the youngest of three children of the couple belonging to the Mannadiyar community, who earn a living by farming in Vattavada near Munnar.
After passing from Government HSS in Koviloor, Abhimanyu was eager to seek a job so that he could help his family. He joined BSc chemistry at Maharaja’s College.
“He always wanted to provide a helping hand to his aging parents. Slowly, he was stepping into the much-desired role before death snatched him away,” said a villager.
Born in 1998, Abhimanyu had to wade through many difficult phases. His desire to contribute to the family income grew after he saw his father Manoharan toiling hard in the fields with the help of his brother Darijith, who had dropped out of school, and his sister Kawsalya working at a textile shop in faraway Perumbavoor.
Former classmates at Koviloor HSS recalled that he had a deep desire to help his parents. “Abhimanyu wanted them to live a life free of miseries. He wanted them to escape the vicious cycle of poverty,” said a former classmate.
In 2015, Abhimanyu became a district committee member of SFI. Vattavada SFI local area secretary Sekhar said Abhimanyu was a “warrior with strong political beliefs”.
“Abhimanyu was more active in the party than his father, who is also a CPM member. He would often volunteer himself for humanitarian initiatives. He was at the forefront whenever the party faced any challenge. He was such a brave soul that he never ever complained about the poor economic conditions faced by his family,” he said.
Abhimanyu’s brother Darijith dropped out of school so that the family could find money to send the youngest son to college. Abhimanyu’s dream was to marry his sister off to a well-to-do family once he managed to get a job.
“We are all shattered,” said a tearful Darijith. “His death has left a big void in the family.”
Victim was writing welcome messages
Abhimanyu was writing welcome messages and an argument between the two groups over graffiti on the walls booked by the SFI resulted in the clash. College authorities said regular classes have been suspended for two days. Abhimanyu’s body was handed over to the relatives after conducting an autopsy at the Ernakulam General Hospital, where Finance Minister Thomas Issac
and M Swaraj MLA paid last respects to him. Later, his mortal remains were kept at the Maharaja’s College for students, teachers and public to pay homage. The SFI called for a state-wide strike and boycott of classes on Monday in protest of the killing.
Hometown bids tearful adieu to Abhimanyu
A sea of humanity on Monday gathered at Vattavada here to pay an emotional farewell to SFI leader Abhimanyu who was slain by alleged Campus Front activists at the Ernakulam Maharaja’s College late on Sunday. Abhimanyu’s body was brought to Munnar by 4 pm with the long line of mourners, including friends, students and political leaders, barely able to come to terms with the numbing tragedy. His body was kept at the Munnar Post Office Junction for the public to pay homage. However, his body was not taken out from the ambulance in which it had been brought from Kochi with the accompaniment of several hundred vehicles.
Campus Front not our student wing: SDPI
The Social Democratic Party of India (SDPI) has denied having any link with Campus Front, which has been accused of killing SFI worker Abhimanyu. Party state general secretary P Abdul Hameed said Campus Front was not the student wing of SDPI. Hameed alleged the CPM was trying to spread violence across the state by stamping the ownership of the murder on SDPI. “Destroying the flags and boards of the party is part of a conspiracy. Instead of taking emotional advantage of the incident, the CPM should introspect on its role in making campuses violent,” he said.
Dawn-to-dusk hartal observed in Vattavada
A dawn-to-dusk hartal was observed in Vattavada gram panchayat near Munnar on Monday to protest against the death of Abhimanyu, a student of Maharaja’s College who was allegedly killed by Campus Front activists. Protesters under the leadership of DYFI’s Vattavada union took out a march to the town and demanded shopkeepers to down shutters. Private vehicles, buses, and two-wheelers stayed away from the roads. Educational institutions and government offices remained shut throughout the day.
Two injured as SFI and SDPI activists clash
SFI Charummoodu area secretary and an activist were injured in a clash between SFI and SDPI at Thamarakkulam, Nooranad police station limit, on Monday. SFI area secretary Noujas, 25, of Kunnilvadakkethil house, Chunakkara, sustained a head injury and was admitted to Vandanam Medical College. SFI activist Ajay, 17, of Kakkarayath house, Nooranad, got a leg injury and was admitted to Government Hospital Nooranad, police said.
Campus Front demands free and fair inquiry
The Campus Front of India state secretariat has demanded a free and fair inquiry into the murder of Abhimanyu. “A dispute in connection with welcoming newcomers to the college led to the tussle. Maharaja’s College has seen violence for long. SFI is trying to gain an advantage by creating martyrs. Since the murder happened during a fight at night, it has raised doubts,” a statement from the student’s organisation said. Campus Front urged the police to conduct an impartial inquiry and bring culprits to book.