One year on, wounds remain as fresh as Vishal’s memories

published on July 16, 2013

“To live in the hearts of those we love is never to die- Thomas Campbell”.

Grief and bereavement is a very personal journey. However in some cases, it goes much beyond that.

The brutal killing of ABVP leader Vishal Venugopal at the hands of Jihadis in Chengannur on this day last year, shook the collective consciousness of society. On his last journey , thousands of people from all walks of life, poured into the streets to get a last glimpse of the 19 year old whose life was nipped in the bud by propagators of one of the greatest single threats to the existing world order- Islamic terrorism. Chengannur and surrounding areas remained in mourning for days in remembrance of Vishal, who probably was the first Jihadi victim in the central Travancore area.

One year, since the day when life around them crumbled into pieces, Vishal’s devastated parents continue to suffer in silence, even as his relatives, friends and close associates have refused to let the memories of the promising young Hindu activist to fade into oblivion.

It was today, exactly a year ago in 2012 that ABVP Nagar Pramukh Vishal succumbed to his injuries inflicted upon by Jihadi terrorists. He was attacked by activists of Campus Front- NDF, as he was taking part in a reception programme arranged for first year students in Chengannur Christian college.He was hacked to death right at the college entrance.

Vishal was a son, a brilliant student and a nationalist who had as his idols Swami Vivekananda and Bhagat Singh. Like his mentors, he wanted to soar high on the wings of nationalism. His dedication to the nation is obvious when one glance through his life.

With his schooling done abroad, his dedication towards his motherland made him pursue his studies in India, with the sole aim of serving the nation. Thereafter he joined Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh and was holding the responsibility of ABVP Chengannur Nagar Pramukh when his wings of dedication stood cruelly clipped by fate.

Vishal was not the lone crusader while battling the Campus Front activists. His friends Vishnu and Sreejith were with him and were grievously injured and were hospitalized along with Vishal. However, it was Vishal, who succumbed to his wounds.

Vishal’s murder took place amidst a programme that was to welcome new students to the college. It is said that the ABVP had organized Saraswati Pooja in front of the college while others were engaged in distributing sweets to the newcomers when the Campus Front activists rushed in and hacked ABVP’s Vishal, Vishnu Prasad and Sreejith.

Vishnu and Sreejith, who were undergoing treatment for the injuries they suffered in the attack, testified that the attack was done by a 20-member gang that reached the spot on motorbikes. The assailants had fled before the local residents rushed to the spot hearing the students’ calls for help, they said.

According to students of the college, there was tension in the campus two days ago over Campus Front’s attempt to open a unit in the college. This was followed by disputes over posters stuck on the college walls, they said. “However, we did not expect this to happen in our college. It was a lightning attack and obviously, the ABVP had got no time to react,” said a student.

The incident was condemned by many eminent figures of society. Terming the incident as nothing less than a terror strike, senior BJP leader PS Sreedharan Pillai said that “trained Popular Front activists had attacked the students without provocation. It was wrong to describe this as student clash,” he said, adding that the Campus Front was trying to import terror into campuses. Pillai had sought a probe into the incident by a Central agency like the NIA.

Following Vishal’s murder, police took into custody three persons and seized a vehicle used by the murderers. Cases were registered against 14 persons for the violence in Chengannur. According to police sources, some receipts of the Campus Front were found from the spot of violence in front of Christian College.

Campus Front is the students’ wing of Islamist organization Popular Front of India (PFI, formerly NDF), whose activists had in a Taliban-model attack on July 4, 2010 chopped off the right hand of TJ Joseph, a college professor from Ernakulam district, for preparing a question paper that allegedly blasphemed Prophet Muhammad.

On his first death anniversary, here is Janam TV’s profound tribute and salutations to Vishal, the brave martyr, who chose to lay down his life for a national cause. Vishal will always be remembered amidst the deepest and profoundest thoughts.

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