Kochi: The academic year opened at the famed Maharaja's College in the city on Monday under the shadow of the overnight murder of a Students Federation of India (SFI) leader. Abhimanyu, 20, from Vattavada in Idukki, and SFI Idukki district committee member, was stabbed late on Sunday night after a dispute over wall writing.
Abhimanyu, a second-year BSc Chemistry student at the college, was declared dead on arrival at the hospital. Another student, Arjun, 19, also received stab injuries and is in a serious condition. He was attended to the Medical Trust Hospital.
Three people from the rival Campus Front have been detained, but the police said they are not students of the college. The police have information that 15 others were in the killer gang that knifed Abhimanyu. The police checked vehicles in the city throughout the night to foil their escape bid.
Those taken into custody are Bilal (Kottayam), Farooq (Pathanamthitta) and Riyas (Fort Kochi).
While the CPM has called for a hartal in Vattavada panchayat, Abhimanyu''s hometown, the SFI has called for a strike across the state Monday.
The SFI and the Campus Front have been writing on the college walls as is a routine practice at the beginning of the academic year. The problem started when some of them started to write over what the other group had written. One such writing was 'communalism' over the writing 'Campus Front.' The SFI alleged that the Campus Front destroyed some of the boards they had set up welcoming new students as the academic year starts Monday.
Senior CPM leaders including Kerala finance minister Thomas Isaac reached the hospital and condemned the "gruesome" incident. CPM state secretariat member and former Rajya Sabha MP P Rajeev condemned the attack on the SFI workers and described it as a 'planned' one carried out by forces with 'extremist nature.'
"We have not heard about such a heinous attack on student activists in recent times. All the progressive forces should come forward to fight against such outfits with extremist nature," said Rajeev, a former state leader of the SFI from Ernakulam district.
Clashes in Alappuzha
Barely hours after Abhimanyu's death, clashes between SFI-Campus Front workers were reported on Monday. SFI area secretary Naujas (23) reportedly sustained stab injuries in the clash. Naujas and two others were admitted to Noornaad hospital.