No racial angle to Manipuri student's death: Police

No racial angle to Manipuri student's death: Police

The Bangalore Rural police on Monday ruled out racial angle in the mysterious death of Manipuri student Richard Loitam.

Addressing a press conference, Bangalore Rural Superintendent of Police, D Prakash, said the police were yet to arrive at a conclusion as to  whether it was a murder or an accident.

The post mortem and histo-pathological reports of the victim will give vital leads, he said.According to the provisional post mortem report, Loitam died of brain haemorrhage. The final post mortem report is awaited.

The police have also sent the bowel contents to histo-pathological test, that would conclusively decide the time of the death.

Loitam, a first year BE (Arch) student of Acharya NRV School of Architecture, Soladevanahalli, was found dead in his hostel room on April 18. He hailed from Imphal in Manipur.

Soladevanahalli Police have registered a case of unnatural death, based on a complaint by Sudhakar, a hostel staffer.

According to the police, Loitam was involved in an accident on the night of April 15 when he was riding his friend Vishal Banerjee’s two-wheeler. He sustained injuries on his face and head for which he was treated at a hospital.

Following the accident, Banerjee picked up a quarrel with Loitam on the night of April 17 and a brawl ensued between the two. Syed Afzal Ali, a senior MBA student, who tried to intervene, allegedly punched Loitam in his face three-four times. Other students pacified the three and administered first aid to Loitam. After returning to his room, Loitam told his roommates that he would not attend the classes for a week.  On April 18, his roommate Sourabh, noticed Loitam bleeding from his nose and mouth.He immediately alerted the hostel staff. Later, Loitam was declared dead.

Prakash said that the two students, who had a scuffle with Loitam on the night of April 17, had been suspended from the hostel.

They have been directed not to leave the City without police permission. 

Ashoka promises action

Home Minister R Ashoka said that the police had interrogated Banerjee and Ali. The police are proceeding with caution as the future of the two students is at stake. “Their future will be in jeopardy if we arrest them,” he said.

He appealed to the student community to remain calm as the police are conducting a detailed inquiry into the incident. "We have handed over the case to the SP of the division. If any foul play is found, the culprits will be nabbed," he said.

When questioned about the criticism that the Karnataka police had been receiving for being slow in acting against the culprits, Ashoka said the post mortem reports were not generated overnight and it would take time.

BJP team meets minister 

Representatives of the BJP North East India Sampark Cell and Manipuri Meitei Association met Ashoka in the City on Monday and sought justice for Loitam. 

Convenor of the Cell, Sunil Deodhar, told reporters that Ashoka assured them that action would be taken based on the Forensic Science Laboratory report expected in the next seven days.

He said the Home Minister assured them that the case would be transferred to CID if Loitam’s family members wanted further investigation.

Deodhar too rejected the discrimination angle behind the death.

Acharya NRV School of Architecture and Acharya Institutes said that the institution was extending all possible cooperation to the investigating officers.

A statement from the management said: “The police have already conducted several rounds of investigations and interrogated several students, faculty and the hostel authorities. The institute has been constantly supporting the probe to ascertain the exact reasons which led to the death of Loitam.”

A committee of the faculty and management has been formed to enable further investigation and any inputs received so far will be communicated to the investigating authorities, the statement said. 

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