Sooraj R, the IIT Madras student who was attacked on Tuesday for participating in a beef fest, has, in a video statement to the police, said that Manish Kumar had approached him and asked whether he ate beef or not.
Sooraj said that on the day of the incident, a group of eight students, including Manish Kumar, a Master's degree student with the ocean engineering department, came and sat next to him at the IIT Jain mess inside the campus.
Sooraj, who hails from Malappuram in Kerala, is a PhD scholar from the department of Aerospace and is also a member of the Dalit student’s body – Ambedkar Periyar Study Circle.
Earlier this week, he was attacked by eight students, allegedly belonging to the right wing, in Chennai and was admitted to the hospital after suffering serious injury in his right eye.
Manish, Sooraj said, began to ask him his name and other personal details. When Sooraj asked them who they were and why were they questioning him, he was given no reason.
"Do you eat beef?" he was asked.
"Yeah," he responded.
As he was about to resume eating his food, Sooraj alleges, Manish started hitting him.
"Just when I was about to put the food in my mouth, he hit me heavily on the back of my head."
“For some time, I couldn’t realise what was happening. When I tried to get up, he caught hold of my hair and started hitting me again on my face and head.” he continued in his statement.
At the time of the incident, Anup, a friend of Sooraj who was present at the spot, tried to intervene.
But according to Sooraj, Manish's friends tried to stop Anup so that "he (Manish) could hit me more."
He was bleeding profusely by then.
"Throughout the incident, he kept shouting "You wait. (You eat) beef no. I will kill you," Sooraj said.
Sooraj also alleged that Manish even came to the hospital he was earlier admitted to, and threatened people by saying that it was just the beginning, and those who eat beef will be killed.
A mobile footage taken by one of the students shows Manish and a few of his friends outside the IIT clinic, speaking to each other, visibly tensed. Manish can be seen wearing a shirt with black horizontal stripes as he moves around a group of men.
“The footage clearly shows him walking around on Tuesday, but by Wednesday he is confined to a hospital bed,” Sooraj’s friend pointed out.
Students also gave media pictures of Manish immediately after the attack on Tuesday, and then the next day from the hospital.
Sooraj is currently undergoing treatment at Apollo Hospitals, and doctors have suggested him to undergo a surgery. Manish, too, has been hospitalised with a fractured hand and will undergo a surgery. Manish’s friends rubbished Sooraj’s allegations and said that he had been provocative.
In his video statement, Sooraj said that he feared for his life. "This is a very dangerous situation where people's lives are under threat. It was a miraculous escape from a murder attempt for me. I don't know if I can enter the campus safely anymore and may require police protection. I want both the institute and the police to take proper action," he said.
The Chennai police on Wednesday booked eight IIT Madras students for attacking Sooraj, and an FIR has been registered under four sections.
Manish Kumar Singh and seven others have been booked under Sections 147 (rioting), 341 (wrongful restraint), 323 (voluntarily causing hurt) and 506(1) (criminal intimidation).
Sooraj has been booked under sections 324 (voluntarily causing hurt by dangerous weapons) and 341 (wrongful restraint), based on Manish Kumar's complaint.
Meanwhile, IIT Madras has ordered a probe into the clash between two students over the beef fest.
(The story was first appeared on The News Minute and has been republished with permission.)