Richard investigation

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Even as the Union government stepped up its campaign against racial profiling of northeast people in other parts of the country, the murder of Loitam Richard has been relegated to the background. The cover-up game still continues in Bangalore as seen in the final report of the post-mortem conducted on Richard’s dead body. The report on the face of it seems honest. While it said, the exact cause of death could not be determined it has placed a benefit of doubt in the condition of Richard’s heart as against the opinion of Richard’s family. Why? It has not raised the issue of multiple injuries on Richard’s body as a possible cause of death. Ever since the tell-tale signs of a homicide emerged in the Richard case, the college authorities had been spreading rumors and trying to inject the ‘accident theory’ in the public sphere. Beginning with the belated report of the death and the absence of official communication to the parents of Richard, it has allowed a prime witness of the brutal beating to leave the hostel on a foreign holiday. The incident was unofficially reported to the parents by the college doctor on April 18 afternoon. Assuming that they found Richard in his bed in that condition in the morning, why was not the parents informed immediately and what forced the appropriate college authorities to remain silent on the incident? While they did not have the time or the courtesy to inform the parents the college authorities were busy trying to taint the memory of footballer Loitam Richard with a history of drug abuse. When the parents reached the hostel on April 19, they found the crime-scene disturbed which is highly irregular in a police investigation. Another question is whether he (Richard) was placed on his bed which is on the upper deck. Given the nature of injuries that he has sustained on his body it would have been very difficult to climb unto the upper deck where he supposedly died according to his parents. And the body was in a decomposed state at the mortuary. According to the report filed with the Madanayakanahalli PS by the hostel warden S Sudhakar, Richard met with an accident on April 16 and was subsequently treated at Sapthagiri Hospital. There are many other questions on the role of the college authorities. Right from the fighting incident on the night of May 17, a definitive process was also started for a cover-up operation. The slow process of the police investigation on the case itself speaks volumes of the power and reach of the college authorities. For quite some time, the Bangalore police remained contented with the ‘accident theory’ provided by the college authorities. Earlier Bangalore police maintained that Richard died due to injuries received in a road accident before he was beaten up by a senior student of the institute. The provisional post-mortem report reveals cerebral haemorrage as the cause of death. After the accident, the doctors at the Sapthagiri Hospital treated him as an outpatient. Had there been suspicion of serious injuries, the doctors would surely have advised him for further tests and medical investigations as treatment protocol requires. And now, the benefit of doubt expressed in the post-mortem report with regard to Richard’s heart condition leads further to other questions on the conduct of the investigation whichever it may be. The conclusion of the post-mortem report of Bangalore has already been questioned by a state forensic expert. Meanwhile tension is building up regarding the manner in which Karnataka government is dealing with the case and the indifference of Manipur government. Let it not be said that there was a lack of warning for actions to follow. Various student bodies are rallying together for Richard and the pressure is mounting on the government. It might explode any moment. Remember the June 18 uprising and July 15 naked protest.

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