NEW DELHI: Campus killings, a dark phenomenon Indians till now largely associated with America, made a chilling entry into one of our top universities on Wednesday when a 23-year-old student of JNU coolly walked into a School of Languages classroom and almost decapitated his female classmate before killing himself with a mouthful of sulphas, a potent insecticide that doesn’t take long to snuff the life out of people.
As the university froze in silence and dread, authorities with the aid of the police quickly secured all entry points, barring access of both people and information to outsiders. But from what TOI gleaned after talking to the few people willing and available to speak about the incident, Aakash Kumar, who was studying Korean and was in his BA final year, came armed with a loaded pistol, which misfired, a knife and an axe with the clear intention of murdering Roshni Gupta, 22, a girl from Muzaffarnager that he was rumoured to be dating.
Roshni, hit multiple times on the head and stabbed in her stomach, is in critical condition and fighting for life at the Safdarjung hospital where she was rushed by fellow students soon after the gruesome attack at about 11am. A team of doctors who first stopped her bleeding and then performed a surgery before doing a number of scans to ascertain internal injuries to the skull has kept her under close observation.
Shockingly, medical staff at AIIMS apparently turned away the bleeding girl and refused to admit her. A few students and one of the professors accompanying her alleged that the hospital was unrelenting. Rattled, professor Kamal Mitra Chenoy of JNU said, “We agitated for reform during the Nirbhaya protests but it was surprising to see AIIMS turning down the patient like this.”
Aakash, though, who had slashed his neck just in case the sulphas didn’t work, died an hour after he was brought to the AIIMS trauma centre at around 12.15pm. “He succumbed to the poison,” a senior doctor said. “We could not revive him.”
In the four-page suicide note he left behind on a table in the classroom, Aakash, a resident of Gaya, said, “We became friends since the day we took admission. I did everything for her but I feel she used me. I feel cheated. She used to make fun of me. There was a lot between us and we were close friends. Even our friends will vouch for it. However, ego issues had cropped up between us…she has hurt me by mocking me.”
Recounting the horrid turn of events, students said that classes began at the School of Languages as usual at 9.30 in the morning. He was there, too, sitting at the back of the class. The first lecture ended uneventfully and a short break was announced before the second began at 11am. Most students, except for five or six, had left the classroom for the recess. That’s when Aakash shooed away the lecturer after telling him that his colleague was looking for him. Seconds later, he took out a pistol from his bag and aimed it at Roshni. When the gun jammed, he brought out an axe and rammed it on her head. He didn’t stop when the girl staggered and started to collapse. In rapid succession he hit her again, this time on her shoulders and forehead. Then, still unsatisfied with the blows, he stabbed her with a knife a couple of times just below her rib cage.
As the other students dashed out in panic, Aakash gulped the sulphas tablets and slit his throat. Aparajit Chattopadhyay, chairperson, Centre for Spanish Studies, who reached the spot on hearing the commotion said he saw Roshni in a pool of blood and turning towards Aakash asked him why he did that. “But the boy had no remorse, not at all,” Chattopadhyay said. “Neither for what he had done, nor for the fact that he was dying. I held his hand and he just answered ‘Yeh to hota hai’. He kept repeating ‘I am dying, I am dying.’ That was the last he spoke.”
DCP south BS Jaiswal told TOI they were probing how Aakash managed to procure the pistol and other weapons. “A case of attempt to murder under section 307 IPC has been registered at Vasant Kunj (north) police station and a team led by additional DCP P S Kushwah has been formed to investigate the matter,” Jaiswal said. The cops are working in tandem with JNU authorities and have recorded the statements of some professors and students, including Aakash’s roommate.
A friend, unwilling to be identified, said, “It’s horrible what happened. The whole of JNU is mourning. Aakash was a good dancer and had just performed in the Jhelum hostel cultural night. He was good to his mates. Something must have come unstuck.” Another colleague whispered that Aakash was in a lot of stress and his father was suffering from cancer. “In fact, he was even unable to pay his mess fees and had done very badly in the last semester exams. All of this must have added up and exploded in his head.”