A group of IIT-Madras students protesting against Tuesday’s assault on a PhD scholar, Sooraj, marched towards the administrative block on Wednesday, demanding that the assailants be expelled from the institute. Saying that the attackers pose a threat to the safety of students in the varsity, the group claimed that they also have a history of violent behaviour. Around 70-80 students participated in the march. Spelling out their list of demands, the protesters said the administration must bear all the medical expenses incurred by Sooraj. The general students body must also be informed about the action taken against the attackers, they said.
“We are strong on our demands. We want expulsion of attackers. This is the 4th time in 6 months that the Perpetrators have given threats (this time going all the way to physically assault) and no strict action was taken earlier even upon complaint. We definitely want expulsion this time,” one of the students told The Indian Express.
The Dean invited two representatives to hold talks with the administration.
On Tuesday, Sooraj, a PhD scholar in aerospace engineering, was attacked by a group of students led by an ABVP sympathiser. Anoop, a student who witnessed the attack, said Sooraj was attacked by a gang of eight near the canteen sometime after 2 pm. “We were having lunch when they approached us and asked Sooraj whether he had attended the beef fest and eaten beef. Sooraj replied that he had. When they threatened him, he protested. Immediately, they started hitting him on the head. As I tried to stop the attackers, others who had gathered there prevented me…the leader of the gang kept on hitting Sooraj on his face,” he said.
Sooraj suffered severe facial injuries and he had to be shifted to an eye hospital in Chennai. A senior IIT-M official said the leader of the gang, Manish, is an MS Ocean Engineering student and an ABVP sympathiser. “On Monday, he had threatened a few other students too,” the official alleged. “After he went around saying he wanted to kill those who eat beef, a PhD student who was threatened had filed a complaint with the campus security.”
Eight students have been booked for allegedly beating up IIT-Madras PhD scholar R Sooraj after the latter took part in a ‘beef fest’ in the campus on Sunday night. The accused have been booked under IPC Sections 147 (Punishment for rioting), 341 (Punishment for wrongful restraint), 323 (Punishment for voluntarily causing hurt) and 506(1) (criminal intimidation). The victim, whose right eye has been severely injured, has also been booked under IPC Section 324 (voluntarily causing hurt) and Section 341 (wrongful restraints).