In death as in life,mystifying all who knew him

Student hangs himself accusing senior of sexual exploitation

Written by Milind Ghatwai | Rewa | Published: July 17, 2012 12:06:06 am

When 20-year-old Ajay Pandole decided to kill himself on a Sunday evening in his hostel room,he chose to dress in his college uniform,kept a pen in his pocket and wore a watch.

Ajay,a fourth-semester BA LLB student at A P Singh University,had always been an enigma to other students. He had accused a senior of sexually exploiting him,leaving other students wondering whether they had been in a consensual homosexual relationship or whether Ajay was a victim as he claimed.

According to one version,Ajay had become jealous after the senior made plans to get married. There is also a caste angle thrown in — some students say Ajay was being vilified because he was a Dalit. The student he accused of sexual exploitation,final-year BCA student Ashutosh Dwiwedi,belongs to an upper caste.

The suicide did not come unannounced. Ajay had warned he would kill himself if his alleged tormentor was not arrested. He had threatened to immolate himself in front of the collectorate before opting to hang himself in his room in a corner of the boys’ hostel.

When police broke open the door,they found a note that spoke of his exploitation and a few charred pieces of paper that he apparently did not want others to see.

Ashutosh was arrested after Ajay’s death. He and Ajay had been roommates for months before the former started living in Rewa town with his uncle Rajesh Tiwari and grandmother. Ajay visited their house regularly. “The two appeared to be in a mutual relationship but Ajay could not tolerate Ashutosh’s growing proximity with a girl and his impending marriage,” said vice chancellor Rahasyamani Mishra.

The VC said the police have found prescriptions that suggested Ajay was under the treatment of a Nagpur-based gynaecologist. The police did not confirm this.

Ajay alleged early this year that Ashutosh used to drug him and sexually exploit him in the latter’s grandmother’s house. His complaints don’t mention his feelings for Ashutosh,if any,but say he was a victim.

A sign of things to come showed in February when Ajay made his first suicide attempt,consuming some tablets. The university and hostel authorities hushed up the matter.

The first time he approached the police,Ajay complained that Ashutosh had beaten him up and that he was being tortured for belonging to a lower caste. The police did not register a FIR and helped strike a compromise by summoning the parents of both students.

“They cheated me into withdrawing the complaint,’’ Ajay said in a written complaint to the divisional commissioner in May. It was this complaint on which an FIR against Ashutosh was later filed under Sections of the SC/ST Act and Section 377 of the IPC.

“They looked at me with a question mark on their faces,’’ said Ajay in the complaint,describing how hosteliers’ attitude towards him changed. He sought anonymity but wanted his tormentor to be arrested.

After the FIR,Ashutosh and his uncle Rajesh allegedly started threatening Ajay to withdraw the complaint. They are said to have called up Ajay’s parents,too. Along with Ashutosh,Rajesh has been arrested and charged with abetment to suicide.

The FIR was pending for two months but the police chose not to disturb Ashutosh,who was to appear for his examinations.

On July 8,the Rewa edition of a Hindi newspaper reported that a student had threatened to immolate himself if his tormentor was not arrested. Ajay was not identified but the report named Ashutosh. The reporter who wrote the story claimed that the “victim”,accompanied by another student,had come to his office the previous evening to give him a press note. No other newspaper was given such a note.

“I wouldn’t have planned to marry off my son had I known about his alleged affair,” said Ashutosh’s father Dinesh,who lives 80km from Rewa.

When Ashutosh was being treated for jaundice,Ajay had spent 10 days by his side in a hospital.

Shashank Pande,who is student-in-charge of the hostel,alleged that at least two junior students had accused Ajay of making inappropriate advances. He alleged Ajay’s first roommate,who left after completing his studies,had levelled similar allegations against Ajay.

“Many students had started to maintain a distance from Ajay,” alleged Pande,who is with the ABVP.

But student leader Pankaj Mishra alleged,“It’s a systematic campaign to malign and vilify Ajay because he is a Dalit and an outsider. Everyone wants to save Ashutosh and are cooking up stories against Ajay.”

The NSUI has accused the administration and police of not doing their duty and thus failing to prevent a student from taking his life.

Multiple theories

Motive: Killed himself apparently because police had not arrested a senior he had filed a complaint against

His charges: Was sexually exploited by the senior

Jealousy: University authorities say the two were in a relationship before the other student got involved with a girl and made plans for marriage

Vilification: Student activists say Ajay being maligned because he is a Dalit; the other student belongs to an upper caste

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