Trial in first campus murder involving activists of proscribed Campus Front of India pending for four years

Case lost its priority status after accused in Abhimanyu murder case were released on bail, say legal sources

September 28, 2022 09:02 pm | Updated September 29, 2022 01:57 pm IST - KOCHI

Students Federation of India activists take out a march in Kannur against the murder of SFI leader Abhimanyu at the Maharaja’s College in Ernakulam. File photo

Students Federation of India activists take out a march in Kannur against the murder of SFI leader Abhimanyu at the Maharaja’s College in Ernakulam. File photo | Photo Credit: S.K. Mohan

The trial in the Abhimanyu murder case, which the Home Ministry had flagged along with nine other cases of terror as committed by the activists of Popular Front of India (PFI), is yet to begin even four years after the slaying of the student leader.

PFI cadres have been involved in several terrorist acts and murder of several persons including that of Abhimanyu, Sanjith, Nandu, and Bibin in Kerala and four cases in Karnataka and one in Tamil Nadu, according to the ban order issued on Wednesday.

Abhimanyu, an SFI leader of Ernakulam Maharaja’s College, was murdered on July 2, 2018. While some of the accused in the Abhimanyu murder case were allegedly members of the Social Democratic Party of India (SDPI), a few others were students who were reportedly activists of the Campus Front of India, the student wing of the PFI. This was considered as a campus murder allegedly committed by activists of the now-proscribed organisation in Kerala. J. Muhammed, the first accused, was the unit president of the Campus Front of India at Maharaja’s College.

Though the Central police had arraigned 26 accused in the case, the charge was split, and 16 persons who had allegedly got directly involved in the murder were arrested. However, the accused had secured bail. The investigation against 10 others, who were booked for harbouring the accused in the murder case and conspiracy, was under way, sources said.

A combination of factors, including the release of the accused on bail, delay in securing the arrest of the 10th accused, and the COVID-induced lockdown for nearly two years, have delayed the proceedings. The case lost its priority status as the accused were released on bail. It would have gone up on the priority list if the trial was initiated while the accused were in custody. Now, the trial would be initiated when the case is taken up on chronological order as a large number of old cases are pending for consideration, legal sources pointed out.

The Kerala-based Rehab Foundation has also been notified as an unlawful association under Section 3 of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act 1967, along with eight other associates or affiliates or fronts of the PFI.

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