THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: A 73-year-old man collapsed and died amid the tension over student protests in front of Kerala Law Academy Law college (KLALC) at Peroorkada in the city on Tuesday evening. The deceased has been identified as Abdul Jabbar, a native of Manacaud. The Peroorkada station police have registered a case in connection with the incident.
According to police, the incident took place around 6.15 pm when Peroorkada junction witnessed dramatic scenes after a fire and rescue team resorted to using water canons to disperse scores of protesters and three suspected KSU activists who tried to immolate themselves after pouring petrol on their bodies, demanding the resignation of controversial college principal Lakshmi Nair.
The fire force team was present at the spot and was trying to bring down an ABVP activist who climbed up a tree in front of KLALC threatening to commit suicide if Lakshmi Nair did not resign.
The police suspect the person was an onlooker and he suddenly fainted after seeing the tension unfold in front of Law Academy.
He was taken to a nearby hospital where he was declared brought dead. The authorities said he had suffered a cardiac arrest. However, police have initiated a probe and the body has been shifted to the morgue of Medical College Hospital.
"It is learnt that he was watching the protest that took place and he had nothing to do with the protest. He might have collapsed after he suffered a sudden illness. However, a probe has been initiated," said S Suresh Babu, Peroorkada Circle Inspector.
Meanwhile, ABVP state unit sought a police probe into the incident as they suspect the man collapsed after he got trapped in the heavy rush and spray from the water cannon. "The man who was watching the protest of KSU might have got trapped in front of the water cannon used by the fire force and eventually collapsed. Hence we demand a probe from the police into the incident.
It is a serious lapse on the part of law enforcers," said Shyam Raj, ABVP state general secretary.