A third-year student of National Institute of Technology-Silchar allegedly died by suicide on the campus, following which his classmates began a protest that eventually turned violent, prompting the police to lathi charge, in which 40 people were injured, officials said on Saturday.
The body of the student, a native of Arunachal Pradesh, was found hanging in his hostel room on Friday evening.
Alleging that he was forced to die by suicide because of the actions of the college authority, his classmates stopped the police from taking down the body.
Two hours later, as the police managed to send the body for post-mortem examination, the students began a demonstration in front of dean of academics BK Roy's official residence on the campus.
They alleged that Roy had insulted the victim who got six backlogs in his first semester examination, which was held online in 2021 because of the pandemic.
Due to the lockdown, he was at home and failed to attend the online classes due to lack of internet connectivity, resulting in the backlog, they claimed.
He had appealed to the authorities to conduct a special examination so that he could clear the backlogs but Roy allegedly insulted him.
Following this incident, he locked himself in his room and later his body was found hanging, they said.
The protest over the death escalated, and the students allegedly vandalised Roy's residence, Cachar's Superintendent of Police Numal Mahatta said.
"They attacked the police and other officials as well. At one point, we had to lathi charge to control the situation. We are now investigating the matter," he said.
In the lathi charge, 40 students were injured and they were sent to Silchar Medical College and Hospital (SMCH) for treatment. The conditions of some of the students are stated to be critical, officials said.
NIT-Silchar director Dilip Kumar Baidya said he has sympathy for the student who died, but he had a bad academic record.
"Some students fail, and they come with illegitimate demands," he said, commenting on the incident.
Cachar's District Commissioner Rohan Kumar Jha visited the campus and formed a committee that will investigate the incident.
The students, however, said that they would continue their protest in a democratic manner.
"Our classmate died because of the wrong decisions of the authorities, we'll continue our protest till justice is served," said one of the protesters.
A large police contingent was deployed at the campus, along with one company of the Central Reserve Police Force, the SP said.