Pathologists inconclusive on Richard`s death

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College students burning effigies of Manipur CM, Kartaka CM and Manipur Home Minister on Wednesday.
IMPHAL, May 16: Demonstrations against the slow pace of investigations in the alleged murder of Richard Loitam and Okram Laba case continued with a new vigour.

Students of four state colleges staged sit in protests at their respective college gates and burnt effigies of Manipur Chief Minister his Karnataka counterpart and state Home Minister.

The colleges are Standard College, Imphal College, Manipur College and Ideal College.

Meanwhile, the Times of India (TOI) carried a news report yesterday under the headline “Doctors can’t tell what killed Loitam”.

The report had said “Histopathological tests, too, have failed to establish the cause of Richard Loitam`s death. Doctors say his body was decaying, and a delayed autopsy was the reason for inconclusive findings. The Manipur native was found dead in his hostel room near Madanayakanahalli, on Tumkur Road, on April 18”.

In the meantime, a source has accused the TOI report as misleading.

The sources said that even though the histopathalogical reports are out, the reports are yet to be analysed by the forensic team. So the conclusion will be out only in the evening (Tuesday).

The source has also informed that during a meeting with the state police team currently assisting the Karnataka police in the case has confirmed that the histopathological reports are still not being analysed by the forensic laboratory in Bangalore.

On the other hand the TOI news report continued, “Postmortem and forensic tests on the visceral samples of Loitam, 19, a second semester student of Acharya NRV School of Architecture, Chikkabanavara, near Hesaraghatta, failed to zero in on the cause of his death. Loitam`s death sparked nationwide outrage, with northeast students staging demonstrations across the country and alleging that the boy was a victim of racism”.

“In the histopathological test report handed over to Madanayakanahalli police , Victoria Hospital`s pathology department head Dr AR Raghupathy stated that “it was too late” to reach conclusions , given that specimens were collected from Loitam`s body after `autolysis ` (decay of tissues) had set in”.

“Autolysis can obscure the causes that lead to death, a source at Victoria Hospital forensic medicine department said; adding that the postmortem was conducted immediately after the body was received at the hospital morgue. The source added that all through the procedure, the deceased student`s relatives were waiting outside the mortuary” the news report continued.

“After a thorough dissection during postmortem, doctors removed internal organ parts for histopathological tests,” the source said, and disclosed that the body had already started decaying as there was a delay on the part of the police in getting it to the mortuary . “We had kept the body in freezer section box No 5 in the mortuary, to avoid any further decay,“ the source explained, the daily further quoted its sources.

“Police, however, denied their responsibility in the delay. “There was no mistake on our part. After receiving the complaint, we commenced our procedures. But there was a delay in filing a complaint, which might have affected the forensic process. We`ll have to ask the college authorities about the delay,” a senior police officer said. Though Loitam was found dead in his bed in the afternoon, the complaint was filed only at 6.30pm” the TOI report continued.

The report further continued that “According to police, the student`s body was shifted to the mortuary only on April 19. Postmortem was conducted the next day. But the report had failed to establish the exact cause of his death, and visceral samples and body part specimens had been forwarded for further forensic and histopathological tests”.

“The Forensic Sciences Laboratory, Madiwala, too, failed to ascertain the exact cause of Loitam`s death”.

The postmortem and forensic tests have identified clots in Loitam`s brain but failed to identify whether he died of injuries in his brain during the accident, or the punches delivered by his hostelmates.

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