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'Hope Faizan Is Last': Mother of Deceased IIT Student After Order To Exhume Body

23-year-old Faizan was a third-year mechanical engineering student at IIT Kharagpur.

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"After Calcutta High Court's order to conduct a second post-mortem, we feel that we are getting closer to the truth," Faizan Ahmed's mother Rehana told The Quint two days after the court directed an exhumation of his body.

Twenty-three-year-old Faizan was a third-year mechanical engineering student at IIT Kharagpur, whose decomposed body was found in room 205 of the college's Lala Lajpat Rai (LLR) hostel on 14 October 2022.

While the initial reports had suggested that Faizan died by suicide, the high court on Tuesday, 25 April, ordered that his body be exhumed as "a second post-mortem is necessary."

This development comes as a small victory for Faizan's family. But why did the court order a second post-mortem? What was missing in the first post-mortem?
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What's Missing – Head Injuries, a Chemical To Preserve Meat

On 1 November 2022, Faizan's family moved the Calcutta High Court, demanding that a Special Investigation Team, the Central Bureau of Investigation, or the Criminal Investigation Department probe his death.

Over the course of the hearing, the court appointed a forensic expert to submit a report on the basis of first post-mortem. The court had also appointed Sandip Kumar Bhattacharya as amicus curiae in the case.

As per the court order, the report found that:

Snapshot
  • There are two visible injury marks, otherwise medically called haematoma, on the back of the victim's head. The original post-mortem report does not mention the same

  • Certain cut marks on the arms of the victim, according to Dr Gupta (forensic expert), are clearly those inflicted after death

  • A seizure report of the police dated 17 November 2022, which indicates that a chemical called emplura (sodium nitrate) in a bottle had been seized from the scene of the crime. It is submitted by Bhattacharya that sodium nitrate, a yellowish powder, is normally used to preserve meat. There was some yellowish residue in a bucket found by Dr Gupta and Bhattacharya during their visit to the room

In its order, the court also noted, "It is submitted that when a body decomposes, it is impossible that the fellow inmates of the hostel would not be able to detect it. There was mysteriously no smell from the body for three days. The presence of this chemical emplura (sodium nitrate) opens up serious questions as regards the time of death and whether it may have been used to preserve the body after the death of the victim."

In light of these findings, the court concluded that "a second post-mortem is necessary."

"The body of the victim has been buried as per Muslim rites in Assam. Let the body of the victim Faizan Ahmed is ordered to be exhumed," the order noted.

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What Happened to Faizan?

In their petition, Faizan's parents had alleged that in a photograph of Faizan's body – taken in the room where he was found dead – both his eyes and mouth were open, apparently gasping for air. His hands were in a posture that indicated that he was pinned to the ground, the petition added.

Advocate Aniruddha Mitra, who is representing Faizan's parents in the high court, told The Quint that a post on a Facebook page called 'IT KGP confessions' showed that an 'assimilation programme' was held by the seniors at the Rajendra Prasad (RP) Hall of residence from February to March 2022. During that programme, some second-year students were allegedly subjected to ragging, Mitra said.

Mitra added that Faizan refused to take part in it. "He was dragged to the programme and harassed in front of 130 students," Mitra alleged, adding that the post was later deleted from Facebook.

Faizan, who was a resident of RP Hall, swapped rooms with a student of LLR hall approximately 45 days before his death, Mitra added.

In a previous order, on the basis of an email dated 4 February 2022, the court had noted, "There is a mention of serious complaints from second-year under-graduate students of being physically and mentally harassed by a group of seniors."

Taking note of the incident, the court said, "An email of that day, annexed to the Director's report, clearly indicates apprehension and fear against senior students after the incident in question."

"The incidents occurred in a purported assimilation programme involving senior and juniors students. The email clearly mentions names of two senior students," the court added.

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What Did the Police Do?

In view of the incident, the police registered an FIR naming four students for conducting the assimilation programme and "misbehaving/ragging" Faizan. They are:

  • Arjun Sharma (21)

  • Jay Prakash Kumar (22)

  • Animesh Mujawadiya (22)

  • Atharva Nigoskar (21)

The FIR further names another student, Awanish Kumar, who is accused of requesting the 'IT KGP confessions' Facebook page admin to delete the post regarding 'ragging'.

It also names Arnab Atta, former warden of RP Hall, and assistant professor Palash Dey, the authority in charge of care and protection, who received the information Faizan's ragging, but did not act upon it.

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'Faizan Should Be the Last One': Rehana

Faizan hailed from Assam's Tinsukia district. His father, who is battling cancer, stays unwell most of the time, Rehana said.

In a conversation with The Quint, Rehana said, "After this tragedy, we don't feel like doing anything. We cook once in a day or two days because sometimes we don't feel like eating also."

Further demanding justice for his son, Rehana added that, "Faizan hi last ho. Aur kisi maa ka beta na cheena jaaye. (I hope Faizan is the last one and no mother loses her child.)"

In October 2022, Rehana had alleged that the institute tried to cover up the circumstances that led to Faizan's death by trying to convince them that he was "mentally unstable" and died by suicide.

"To save someone else, they made a murder appear like a suicide," she added tearfully.

(At The Quint, we are answerable only to our audience. Play an active role in shaping our journalism by becoming a member. Because the truth is worth it.)

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Topics:  Suicide   Ragging   IIT Kharagpur 

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