Murder accused had tried to force himself

The ward boy accused of murdering Assam Medical College and Hospital (AMCH) post-graduate student Sarita Toshniwal was appointed by the hospital authorities without police verification, revealed an investigation.

Police officers investigating the case said Kiru Mech, the murder accused, was appointed about eight months ago without even a minimum background check that led to Toshniwal's gruesome murder.

Mech, a known criminal, was arrested on charges of theft a couple of years ago. He hailed from Chiringhola village near Lahowal in Dibrugarh district and used to stay at his father-in-law's house in Bongaigaon, located just behind the AMCH campus.

"During investigation, it came to light that the murder accused was appointed as a ward boy by the AMCH authorities on a temporary basis about 8 months ago on a monthly remuneration of Rs 2,000. He was a criminal. In spite of this, they appointed him without a police verification despite the sensitiveness of his job. The error proved costly," said Naba Kumar Bora, the OC of Dibrugarh police station, on Saturday.

The police on Saturday morning recovered Sarita's missing mobile phone from the house of Manikanta Chutiya, the father-in-law of the accused.

"He (Kiru Mech) led us to his father-in-law's place and showed us the mobile phone which he had hidden there. He had taken her mobile phone after committing the murder. The accused in his statement has disclosed that he had tried to force himself on her. When she resisted his advances, he first gagged her and then killed her with a knife for fear of disclosure," added Bora.

The accused was produced in the court of chief judicial magistrate, Dibrugarh, which remanded him in 5 days police custody.

On the other hand, the junior doctors of the college on Saturday burnt the effigy of the principal, vice-principal and the superintendent of AMCH and demanded their resignation for their failure to ensure the security of doctors inside the campus. For the second consecutive day, healthcare service was disrupted at the AMCH as doctors refrained from duty. The agitating doctors, who threatened to go on an indefinite strike, demanded deployment of armed security personnel on the medical college campus, installation of CCTVs and immediate implementation of the Doctors' Protection Act.

Parliamentary secretary (Home) Etwa Munda, who visited the AMCH on Saturday, stated that strong measures will be taken to ensure the safety of doctors.

Members of the All Assam Students' Union staged a 2-hour sit-in in protest against the gruesome murder. The protesters demanded stringent punishment for the guilty and urged the government to ensure the safety of doctors and medical students. A candle light march was taken out in the town by various organizations, seeking justice for the victim.

In Sivasagar, the victim's hometown, business establishments downed shutters from 6 am to 12 pm as a mark of respect. A sea of humanity was witnessed at the victim's home in the Amolapatty area of the town since morning.

The doctor's last rites were conducted later in the day.

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