On the morning of 9 October, Akhil Thazhath, a former student of the Central University of Kerala, in the state’s northernmost district of Kasaragod, cut his wrists at the institute’s helipad grounds. “I cannot express the pain, cruelty and neglect that I have experienced,” he had written in a suicide note discovered in his pocket, with a blood stain on one corner. “Vice Chancellor Gopakumar, Registrar Radhakarishnan Nair, Pro-Vice Chancellor K Jayaprasad, Dr Mohan Kunder, are not people who only harassed me as an individual. They are anti-social elements as well.”
Three days later, the university filed a petition in the Kerala High Court stating that the police had failed to provide protection to the administration from student protests. The petition accused several students, including Thazhath, of a “wilful attempt to cause bodily harm” to Jayaprasad, the pro-vice chancellor of the university. It also stated that Thazhath had “created a small wound on his hand,” which his friends dubbed as a suicide attempt. Thazhath’s discharge report, which was issued by the psychiatric department of District Hospital, Kanhangad, in Kasaragod, records that he was admitted with a “wrist slash.”
His friends told me that Thazhath was driven to attempting suicide due to sustained harassment by the university administration. It began on 25 June, when the CUK issued a suspension order against him, claiming that he had written “abusive and filthy words” about the administration on Facebook at 3.46 pm on 22 June. In the petition, the university attached a screenshot of the first few lines of a post by Thazhath, which contained expletives against members of the administration. Thazhath, however, denied making any such post at the specified time and date. The screenshot in the petition is undated.