A first-year engineering student was found hanging in a toilet of the College of Engineering, Thiruvananthapuram, under mysterious circumstances late Saturday, a day after he was reported to have gone missing.
While the police have confirmed the death to be a case of suicide, allegations are rife that the differently abled youngster was driven to take the extreme step after being traumatised by a group of drug dealers against whom he had tipped off the law enforcement agencies in his native place in Neyyattinkara.
Ratheesh Kumar, 19, who hailed from Neyyattinkara and had been residing in Neerali Lane in Ulloor with aunt Girija since his parents deaths, was found dead in the toilet of the Civil Engineering Department on the college campus. The deceased was a first-year Civil Engineering student in the college.
Missing since Friday
He had been reported to be missing since Friday noon after he had appeared for a series test.
Soon, the Sreekaryam police, along with the college authorities, had launched a search for the student, but their efforts had been futile. However, the police soon renewed their efforts after the Cyber Cell had traced down his location through mobile signals to the college.
It was around the same time that the security wing had observed a toilet reserved for differently abled people in the Civil Engineering block to have been locked from within.
They discovered the student hanging from the grills of the window after forcing their way into the room by around 11 p.m. on Saturday.
The dead body was shifted to the Government Medical College Hospital only by around 12 p.m. after inquest was conducted on the basis of a demand raised by the deceaseds relatives.
The post-mortem examination confirmed that the death was due to suicide by hanging. No bruises were found on the body, which was in its early stages of decomposition. The death could have occurred around 48 hours ago, Assistant Commissioner, Kazhakuttom, P.V. Baby, said.
He added that the investigation will be extended to Neyyattinkara to ascertain the veracity of the claims that Ratheesh had been tortured by the drug lobby.
The Sreekaryam police, which had registered a man-missing case a day ago, has altered the case to one that pertained to unnatural death.
Ratheeshs guardian Girija alleged that he had been assaulted by a few persons a year ago after he had provided information regarding their anti-social activities to the Excise Department. She also accused the police of failing to provide them adequate security. College Principal Jiji C.V., who has interacted with Ratheesh on various occasions, described him as being cheerful, smart and receptive. In view of the incident, the college has suspended classes on Monday and postponed the series test that had been scheduled to be held on the day.
Suicide prevention helpline DISHA: 1056 (toll-free number), 0471-2552056