A student at a college in Kerala was arrested for allegedly inflicting burns on her roommate’s hands and back with a hot iron box and pan, and then sprinkling chilli powder on the injuries. Both women hail from Andhra Pradesh and are final-year students at the College of Agriculture at Vellayani in Thiruvananthapuram.
Police identified the accused as Lohitha and the complainant as Deepika. The incident came to light on Thursday (May 25) after the victim’s parents took the matter to the college authorities.
According to police, Deepika sustained the injuries on May 18 and returned home for treatment without informing the college. It was only when her parents and relatives detected the injuries, the college administration conducted an inquiry and lodged an FIR, police added.
Media reports said the college suspended two other students, one of whom is the third roommate who failed to disclose the alleged torture to the authorities. Police said other hostel residents told them that the two women had a long-standing dispute.
Police further said Lohitha, belonging to a well-off family, would often threaten Deepika and force her to do chores. When Deepika would refuse to do them, Lohitha would physically assault her and even threaten to kill her if she revealed any of this, police added.
On the day of the incident, Lohitha threatened Deepika to phone her mother and abuse her, police said. When Deepika refused to do so, she attacked her with a battery charger and tied her to a chair with the help of another student. Lohitha then proceeded to burn Deepika’s hands and back with a hot pan and iron box, following which she sprinkled chilli powder on the wounds, police added.
College dean Roy Stephen, however, told Asianet News that the reason behind the attack was not yet known and a four-member committee had been formed to look into the incident.
“When we spoke to the accused student, she said she did not do anything. We are yet to find out the specific reasons which led to this incident,” he was quoted as saying. The dean also said the matter was not an instance of caste-based violence or related to political differences.
A report published in India Today said state agriculture minister P Prasad had ordered an inquiry into the matter, even as the Students Federation of India (SFI) staged a protest against the college. The Kerala Students Union has also sought strict action.