Bangalore, 29th April 2012: Over 1500 people from different walks of life and many organizations today came out in protest at Town Hall, Bangalore, against the murder of Richard Loitam. The participants have collectively demanded the Karnakata government to thoroughly investigate the death of Richard Loitam, and the guilty be brought to justice. It has also called upon the Karnataka government to take action against the Acharya NRV school of architecture and it’s official for their negligence, false accusation and the cover-up in the death of Richard Loitam.
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The gathering stood in silence and prayed for a minute for the departed soul of Richard. Slogans were shouted, protest songs were sung, banners and placards were held, candle light vigil was observed.
Many organizations/activists had demanded action against the murder case and some of the comments noted are:-
Jagdish G Chandra – Convener, Peoples’ Solidarity Concerns, Bangalore – “The justice for Loitam Richard is a fundamental issue for all citizens. We want a society where fear and violence is ended. Police authorities must do justice quickly and not falsify the case and shield the culprits. The college management should be held responsible for the homicide of Richard.”
Viko – Vice President of Naga Students’ Union Bangalore – “Is this the way we should be killed and send back home in a coffin? We want justice and we should take this up with the higher authorities”
Monika Khangembam – Representative of Justice of Richard – “It’s high time the management comes out clean and produces the culprits. There are enough evidences to show that it was a murder so police should start a thorough investigation.”
Rahul Prasad –Juvenile care groups – “I saw a banner here which says the college should be closed and I also would like to tell that the college should be closed till Richard gets justice”
Jangkholen – President of Kuki Students’ Union – “This is a great opportunity for the folks from North-East to unite and fight for ourselves as we have learned a lesson from Richard’s murder”
Herojit – Representative of Bangalore Manipur Student Association(BMSA)– “If a student dies in his college hostel then the college authorities should take responsibility and also the government should protect the citizens/students coming from other states here.”
Varun Jaganath of St.Joseph’s college – “Apathy is the first cause for injustice, you guys are not apathetic today, you guys have come forward for justice for Richard and cheers to that.”
Sumiti Muthi – Representative of Lesbith Group – “We came in solidarity with the struggle of justice and this country has a tendency of fabricating false cases.”
Richard Loitam was a 19 year old student from Manipur, who was pursuing Architecture Engineering (1st Year) at Archarya NRV School of Architecture, Bangalore. On the morning of 18th April, 2012 Richard was found dead on his hostel room bed with multiple injuries to his body and blood oozing from his eyes, nose, mouth and ears. The signs on his body, which can still be seen in photographs, bear clear and distinctive signs which could have come only from being assaulted and battered. However, many conflicting reasons have been assigned as the cause of his death even before the details of the post mortem are made available, which raises concern and worry that certain vested interest individuals might not want the exact cause of death to come out and are trying to cover up the whole issue. Richard’s parents who are devastated by the irreplaceable loss are convinced that their son died of campus violence as there are indications and witness accounts of Richard having an altercation with other students on the evening of 17th April, the night before his death. Accordingly, they approached the authorities of the Institute to carry out a thorough, fair and transparent investigation so that justice is done and the culprits, if any, are brought to book. Even after the passage of reasonable time, the authorities of Acharya NRV School of Architecture, Bangalore did nothing of significance, thereby prompting the parents of Richard to approach the police for help. The local police have not done a proper investigation into the matter, nor has the college authorities co-operated with the investigation thereby giving a sense of frustration and restlessness to the family and near ones of Richard.
The protest campaign was organized by volunteers of Justice for Loitam Richard Group and Peoples’ Solidarity Concerns, Bangalore.
Some of the organization who participate and supported this protest:
1. South Indian cell for Human Rights
2. Zeliangrong students’ union Bangaore
3. Kuki students’ Organizations Bangalore
4. Naga Students’ Union Bangalore
5. Thangkhul Student Union Bangalore
6. Juvenile care groups
7. Lesbith Association
8. Bangalore Manipur Student’s Union
9. Bangalore Meitei Association
10. Lotha Students’ Union Bangalore
11. Poumei Students’ Union