Medical student’s death in Kerala triggers concerns of gun violence

How the accused came to possess a gun is a matter of concern and should be looked into, says former DGP Jacob Punnose.   | Photo Credit: MAHINSHA S

The use of gun in the alleged murder of a young medical student at Nellikuzhi near Kothamangalam in Ernakulam district, unlike the more commonly adopted means of stabbing and setting ablaze the victim, has triggered off concerns about a potential upgrade in youth violence.

The 24-year-old was gunned down by Rakhil, 32, she had met a year ago over Instagram in the immediate neighbourhood of her campus at Indira Gandhi Institute of Dental Sciences, Nellikuzhi, on Friday evening.

“The involvement of gun should be taken as an ominous sign of evolving youth violence and should be curbed at the very outset. Gunning down a person in revenge could perceive to be a lot more sophisticated and even glamorise the crime. It could catch up if left unchecked,” said psychiatrist C.J. John.

Ajithkumar Thampan, noted criminologist and former chief investigator with the United Nations High Commission for Refugees, London, felt that the incident should not be seen as an isolated one but as part of a larger and more dangerous malaise. “It is a warning to society about the changing contours of violence by youth having scant regard for the prevalent social norms and the rule of law. That a gun was available to him to access itself is a dangerous signal. It should also be seen in the context of increasing incidents of suicide by children after falling addict to violent online games,” he said.

Rahul Sasi, a cyber security expert, however, said drawing parallels between real-life violence and violent online games was not backed by any data-backed evidence. “A real-life violent person may have never played an online game in his entire life. In fact, his life may be devoid of any entertainment or vigour,” he said.

Former Director General of Police (DGP) Jacob Punnose said the incident was unlikely to trigger a chain reaction of gun-based violence, since very few guns were around in the State, and that most of them were accounted for. “The possession of guns is discouraged by law enforcement agencies lest they should be used for settling arguments. But how the accused came to possess a gun is a matter of concern and should be seriously looked into,” he said.

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Printable version | Sep 28, 2021 10:00:29 PM |

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