In a tragic incident,a fourth-year student of University Institute of Engineering and Technology (UIET),Amandeep Singh,on Thursday was charred to death after a fire broke out under mysterious circumstances in his room in hostel number 2 of Panjab University.
Though the cause of the fire was yet to be ascertained,DSP Crime Satbir Singh said prima facie,it looked like a suicide as the victim had chained his feet with bed and keys were lying near him. Also,the room was bolted from inside.
The body was found lying on the bed. Singh,who was pursuing Electronics and Communication Engineering,stayed in room number 60 located on the second floor of block II of G C Chateerji Hall. He shared room with his classmate Chetan.
Singh hailed from Ransih Kalan village,Nehal Singh Wala tehsil,Moga district. He along with Chetan went to take an exam which was scheduled for 2 pm on Thursday. However,after reaching the examination centre,he told Chetan that he had left his admit card,which contained his roll number,in his room and was going to pick that up. His roommate sat for the paper,but he did not come back.
Around 3.35 pm,a blast was heard by students,followed by intense flames coming from the balcony of his room. Immediately,the students called up hostel warden Harish Kumar who further informed the municipal corporations fire control office.
The hostel staff tried to control the fire with the help of fire extinguishers available in the hostel. One fire tender reached the spot and contained the fire within 20 minutes. We tried to open his room,but it was locked from inside. We had to break the door open. When we opened it,it was all filled with smoke and fire, said one of the hostel clerks.
Later,DSP (Central) Ashish Kapoor and SHO,Sector 11 police station,Gurmukh Singh reached the site. Around 5.10 pm,a team from Central Forensic Science laboratory (CFSL) also reached the spot.
Chetan was called by the PU authorities after his exam to recognise the body. As Amandeep was amritdhari (a baptised Sikh),Chetan recognised the body from his kirpan (sword) and kara (steel or iron bracelet).
The CSFL team filled five containers with the stuff they found in the room and a laptop which was found undamaged. The police took the body to the Government Multi-Speciality Hospital,Sector 16,for post-mortem. We have collated clues and evidence to ascertain the cause of fire and death, said CSFL officials.
There were three beds in the room which were totally burnt. His body was charred. Due to intense fire,all windowpanes blew up and the dessert cooler in the balcony fell with force, said the hostel warden.
Dean Student Welfare Prof A S Ahluwalia said,It is a very sad incident. We have informed the Vice-Chancellor about it and he has expressed his heartfelt condolences. We will be holding a condolence meeting in the hostel at 6.30 pm on Friday. We will wait for police and CFSL reports.
However,Chief Fire Officer Rajiv Kumar Gupta said that we are yet to ascertain the cause of fire as the forensic team is doing its investigation. If there will be any fire safety violations,strict action will be taken against the PU.