Seven months after Faizan Ahmed, a third-year student of Mechanical Engineering at IIT-Kharagpur, was found dead in a hostel room of the premier institute, his body was exhumed from a cemetery in Assam on Tuesday for a second autopsy to arrive at the “truth behind the death”, according to the Calcutta High Court’s order.
The HC has ordered conducting a second postmortem by a court-appointed forensic expert.
Based on the court’s directions, a West Bengal Police team had arrived at Faizan’s home state — Assam — on Monday and his body was exhumed from Dibrugarh town’s Amolapatty Kabrastan (cemetery).
IIT-Kharagpur officiating registrar Tamal Nath was also present.
The 22-year-old’s mother, Rehana, who was present for the exhumation, said she hopes this will be a step towards finding some answers — and peace. “There has been no peace since he died; I have not slept in all these months,” she told The Indian Express. “No mother hopes for a day like this, but this is something we have to do for justice for him.
“Hopefully, we will know the truth, and this is one step towards that.”
The body has been kept at Assam Medical College and Hospital in Dibrugarh, and the family will accompany the team to Kolkata with the body.
Faizan’s decomposing body was found by students on October 14, 2022, in a hostel room at IIT-Kharagpur. It was not the room allotted to him. Initial reports had suggested he had died by suicide, but his family alleged murder — they said he had been ragged on campus. The family also expressed dissatisfaction with the police investigation as well as handling of the matter by the IIT-Kharagpur authorities.
On October 31, 2022, the family moved the Calcutta HC with an appeal to transfer the case to a special investigation team.
On April 25 this year, Justice Rajasekhar Mantha of Calcutta HC said that a second postmortem is “vital and necessary for arriving at the truth behind the death of Faizan Ahmed.” This came after a report by a court-appointed forensic expert found two visible injury marks on the back of the victim’s head, which was not mentioned in the original postmortem report. It also found cut marks on the arms, “clearly” inflicted after death.
The court had also observed that a bottle of sodium nitrate — normally used to preserve meat — had been seized from the crime scene, and that there was no smell from the body for three days. “The presence of this chemical Emplura (Sodium Nitrate) opens up serious questions as regards the time of death and whether it may have been used to preserve the body after the death of the victim,” the court order stated.