A 19-year-old student died of head injuries after being allegedly prodded to jump off the second floor of her college building during a disaster management drill, following which the trainer, who claimed to be an NDMA personnel, was arrested, police said on Friday.
The National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) has, however, asserted it was not associated with the drill at the college in Coimbatore and the trainer, R Arumugam, was not authorised by it.
Police later said documents provided by Arumugam in support of his claim of being an NDMA authorised trainer were found to be fake and further investigation was on.
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 held by a group of students to ensure a safe landing.
It showed the 31-year-old trainer pushing down Logeshwari, who then hit a sunshade on the first floor.
She suffered serious head injuries and died while being taken to a government hospital yesterday, 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.
The 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.
Within hours of the solatium announcement, state Municipal Administration Minister S P Velumani visited the victim’s residence in Coimbatore and handed over a cheque for Rs 5 lakh to her parents late this evening.
Talking to reporters, Velumani said the matter was under investigation and if found guilty action would take action against the college.
He said it was clear from the video of the incident that the trainer was pushing the student.
Earlier, the body of the student was handed over to the relatives after postmortem at a government hospital in
Coimbatore, where Logeswari was brought immediately after the incident.
Police said two special police teams have been formed to investigate the incident.