A 19-year-old student died after she was allegedly prodded to jump off the second floor of a building during a disaster management drill, following which the trainer, who claimed to be a National Disaster Management Authority personnel, was arrested, police said on Friday.
The NDMA has, however, asserted it was not associated with the drill and the trainer, R Arumugam, was not authorised by it, they said.
In a video clip of the incident, which went viral, N Logeshwari, a second-year BBA student, appears reluctant to take the jump even though a net was put up to ensure a safe landing.
It seems the 31-year-old trainer was trying to push her, police said, adding Logeshwari finally took the jump, but hit a sunshade on the first floor.
She suffered serious head injuries and died while being taken to a government hospital on Thursday, they added.
Tamil Nadu Chief Minister K Palaniswami said he has directed the police and the Higher Education Department to take stringent action against those who organised the drill “without obtaining due approval”.
He also announced a solatium of Rs 5 lakh to the victim’s family from the Chief Minister’s Public Relief Fund.
Logeswari’s parents blamed the college management for not properly monitoring the drill and held it responsible for the tragedy.
Talking to reporters, her father Nalla Gounder, a farmer from Nathegounden Pudur, said his daughter was pushed down by the trainer, despite her reluctance to jump.
He alleged that Arumugam did not have a proper trainer certificate.
Tears rolling down her eyes, Logeswari’s mother Sivakami blamed the college and held it solely responsible for the tragedy.
Students also claimed Logeswari was unwilling to jump.
Police said Arumugam was arrested based on a complaint filed by the student’s father and remanded in custody.
Meanwhile, he NDMA said it was not associated with the drill and that the trainer was not authorised by it to conduct the exercise.
“Unfortunate that this incident has happened & we have lost a young life. Our heartfelt condolences to the family,” it said.
“However, the National Disaster Management Authority wasn’t involved in this drill. The trainer wasn’t authorised by NDMA to conduct such a drill,” the agency said in a tweet.
Palaniswami condoled the student’s death and expressed his sympathies to the family of the deceased.
“I have directed officials of the police and the higher education department to take stringent action against those who had imparted the training to the college students without obtaining due approval,” he said in a statement.
Referring to the arrest of Arumugam, the chief minister said further probe was on.
The body of the student was handed over to the relatives after post-mortem at a government hospital in Coimbatore, where Logeswari was brought immediately after the incident.
Meanwhile, two special police teams have been formed to investigate the incident, police said.
IMAGE: A screengrab from the video going viral on social media.