Kerala

5 SFI men arrested for attack on KSU leader

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Police hunt for ‘enforcer’ Yettappan

The State police have arrested five Student Federation of India (SFI) activists "responsible" for the attack on Kerala Students Union (KSU) State president K.M. Abhijith and others in front of the University College on Friday.

The police charged them with attempt to commit culpable homicide not amounting to murder. The provision entailed a maximum punishment of three years of imprisonment and fine.

The law enforcers raided the University Hostel and inspected the house of M.R. Mahesh Kumar, 38, alias "Yettappan" at Muttathara. The 38-year-old former SFI leader had come under a harsh spotlight after a furtive mobile phone capture of him intimidating a KSU worker in a room at the University Hostel emerged in the mainstream media.

The grainy video "showed" Mahesh cautioning University College student Nithin Raj in harsh language against raising the flag of the KSU on the college campus. The police booked Mahesh for assault, intimidation and wrongful confinement based on Nithin's statement.

The incident had stirred public anger, raised questions about the "dubious" goings-on in the hostel and rendered parents who had their children admitted there anxious.

The police were probing the allegation Mahesh had occupied a hostel room for 10 years without being a student. An official said by some accounts Mahesh performed the role of an "enforcer" with power to punish hostel dwellers who questioned the writ of the SFI.

A KSU worker said there were more "SFI outsiders" in the hostel such as Mahesh. They had mess fare served in their rooms, extorted money from freshers and ordered them around like errant boys. The SFI had relegated wardens to a secondary role and administered the hostel by itself.

The police searched the hostel for alcohol, drugs, banned tobacco products and weapons. They had come under criticism from the Opposition for being politically "partisan" and cold-shouldering complaints against the SFI. Internecine strife between SFI factions had rocked the hostel and campus and resulted in the near-fatal knife attack on a student in July.

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Printable version | Dec 12, 2019 4:23:09 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/5-sfi-men-arrested-for-attack-on-ksu-leader/article30125117.ece

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