Thiruvananthapuram: The office of the Students' Federation of India (SFI) on the campus of the University College in Kerala's Thiruvananthapuram district is testimony to the likely proclivities of its occupants.
With a glance into the room, dubbed as SFI's assault chamber, one can spot an empty liquor bottle in the cupboard, knives and iron pipes strewn across the room, a kerosene stove below the desk as well as flags and party articles spread out in an untidy manner. And bearing witness to all these is a smiling face of Abhimanyu, an SFI leader who was killed in campus violence at the Maharaja's College in Ernakulam last year.
It is said even cops dread to enter the SFI unit office at the University College which is in the heart of Kerala's capital. However, the mediapersons entered this room on Saturday, a day after a student, Akhil, was stabbed on campus in front of hundreds of students.
The police conducted detailed inspection on the campus after Friday's brawl, and found knives and liquor bottles. The green room behind the open stage on the campus is used as the SFI unit office. A recommendation by the Youth Commission, seeking to do away with political offices on campus, was made five years ago.
Students allege that those who raise any opposition are manhandled in this room. The small room adjacent to the main one functions as the secretary's office. The liquor bottle was found in this room. The articles found, including the kerosene stove, prove that people stay in this room at night.
However, the college principal admitted he doesn't know about the goings-on in the SFI office.
"I have been working here for 25 years. I do not know much about that. I don't think there is an assault room. But if you were to ask if the unit office is an assault room, then I cannot say. I don't know how they are using the unit office," principal K Vishwambaran said.
No clue about tense situation: Principal
The principal also claimed he didn't know the situation was tense on the campus on Friday.
The principal, on Saturday, revealed that he and other seven teachers had spoken with the students when the issue first surfaced. The principal said that he did not interfere in the scuffle over singing at the canteen because students had assured him that they would resolve it among themselves.
A minor altercation among students over singing of songs in the canteen flared up into a full-blown campus fight on Friday leading to the stabbing of Akhil.
"When asked if the cops had to be called in, the students said they would resolve the issue. Based on this, I went for admission formalities. However, the personal fight got escalated. After which, the classes were suspended. I had not received any complaints from anyone before this," the principal said, adding that the union had been giving good support to the right academic atmosphere on the campus.
On charges that students are forced to take part in the events of CPM, Vishwambaran partly admitted to it.
"When general demonstrations happen, the students are taken along. However, if it is said that the students are frequently taken, then we cannot agree on that. However, you cannot say they are being taken forcefully. Earlier, there used to be fund collection for the party. Now, all that has stopped. Things have improved considerably," he added.