A man claiming to be a trainer with the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) has been arrested on the charge of prodding a 19-year-old student to jump off the second floor of a college building in Coimbatore during a ''disaster management drill'', police said on July 13.
R. Arumugam was arrested based on a complaint by the student’s father and remanded in custody.
However, the NDMA said it was not associated with the drill and that the person was not authorised by it to conduct the exercise. “Unfortunate that this incident has happened & we have lost a young life. Our heartfelt condolences to the family,” it said. “However, the National Disaster Management Authority wasn’t involved in this drill. The trainer wasn’t authorized by NDMA to conduct such a drill,” it said in a tweet.
In a video of the incident that has gone viral, the girl appeared to be reluctant to take the jump even though a net was put up for her safe landing and, it seemed, the 'trainer' was trying to push her, police said. N. Logeswari, a second-year BBA student, who finally took the jump, hit a sunshade in the first floor, police said. She suffered serious head injuries and died while being taken to a government hospital on July 12, they added.
Parents blame college management
Logeswari’s parents blamed the college management for not properly monitoring the 'drill' and held it responsible for the tragedy.
Talking to reporters, her father Nalla Gounder, a farmer from Nathegounden Pudur near Coimbatore, said his daughter was pushed down by the 'trainer', despite her reluctance to jump. He alleged that Mr. Arumugam did not have a proper trainer certificate.
Tears rolling down her eyes, Logeswari’s mother Sivakami blamed the college and held it solely responsible for the tragedy. Students also claimed Logeswari was unwilling to jump.
The body of the student was handed over to the relatives after post-mortem at a government hospital in Coimbatore, where Logeswari was brought immediately after the incident.
Tamil Nadu Chief Minister K. Palaniswami expressed his sympathies to the family of the deceased. He said he had directed the police and the Higher Education Department to take stringent action against those who organised the 'drill' “without obtaining due approval”. He also announced a solatium of ₹5 lakh to the victim’s family.
Police said two special police teams have been formed to investigate the incident.