‘The Loitam case was just a trigger’ – Manipur

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Sudipto Mondal

It rakes up attitudes and discrimination in a supposedly liberal Bangalore

Investigation of the mysterious death of Manipuri student Richard Loitam has taken an intriguing turn even as the police continue to probe into the possibility of his death being caused by a road accident.

Based on the nature of wounds the 19-year-old sustained, which include multiple injuries to his forehead, chest, face and thighs, an opinion has emerged among forensic experts that the boy was beaten by more than the two students. A case of murder has been registered but there have been no arrests yet.

While experts are yet to establish the exact cause of the death, the police and the college management agree that Loitam was attacked on the night of his death.

Brawl or racism?

But ever since the teen’s death made national headlines, activists and journalists have agonised over one question — was it an attack on a human being or a crime against humanity?

During the April 29 “Justice for Richard” protest in the city, there were murmurs about racism and hate crime. But protest leaders were quick to dissuade the agitators from making such claims.

“The brazenness of the attack has the classic symptoms of racism,” argues Johnson Rajkumar, Associate Professor of Visual Communication, St. Joseph’s College, who also hails from Manipur.

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