Family to request Manipur government for independent probe
The Richard Loitam case seems to have come a full circle, with the forensic report submitted to the police saying that the Manipuri student had died of “cardiac arrest” arising from “hereditary heart problems”.
Though the details of the pathological report have not yet been released, sources who have accessed the report say that the conclusions in the report absolve two students, currently charged with murder. “It states that Richard died from a heart attack, which they say is a hereditary [condition],” said the source.
The report also states the injuries in the post-mortem report were not severe enough to have led to his death, added the source.
Richard Loitam (19), a student of Acharya's NRV School of Architecture in Chikkabanavara, was found dead in his hostel room on April 17. While, his family and friends claim he died after two seniors assaulted him, the police attributed his death to injuries sustained in a road accident two days earlier.
Case to be reverted
It was after immense pressure from protest groups that the Madanayakahalli police had converted the case from ‘unnatural death' to ‘murder', and had booked Vishal Banerjee and Sayed Afzal Ali, who were involved in the scuffle with Loitam.
However, with the report not substantiating the murder charge, a Bangalore Rural police official said the case would soon be reverted back to ‘unnatural death'. “We're waiting for the official order from higher-ups, but all indications point to this.”
D. Prakash, Superintendent of Police, Bangalore Rural, was unavailable for comment.
However, the report has drawn flak from R.K. Vidyabali, Loitam's mother, who called it “baseless” and was “covering up facts”.
“My son was an active football player and was in good physical condition. Moreover, in his school here, he had to go through a medical check-up every six months. There has been no indication of heart problem so far. How can it suddenly arise,” she asked.
Dr. Vidyabali is an Assistant Professor of Microbiology in Imphal and her husband is a dental surgeon. “We both are doctors and are fairly knowledgeable in medicine. If our son had shown symptoms of a problem, we would have known it. The report calls it hereditary, but there is no significant history of heart disease in our family.”
She said the family would now request the Manipur government to conduct an independent forensic inquiry into the death.