He was a hardworking student, a diligent son, a good neighbour and a friend in need — not exactly the résumé of a young man who died the way he did and that too six weeks before his 21st birthday.
St Xavier’s College, Ranchi, remembered its first-year retail management student Bhavesh Lodha — shot dead in Doranda on Thursday evening — with shock, sorrow and a signature campaign.
Principal Father Nicolas Tete termed the incident extremely unfortunate. “We feel so helpless. Anything can happen any moment here in Ranchi,” he said.
Xavier’s professor Anand Gothi, who taught Bhavesh, said he was expecting the boy to do well in his exams. “He was not brilliant, but he worked hard. He also had a knack for extracurricular activities. It is hard to believe what has happened,” Gothi said.
Bhavesh’s alma mater launched a massive signature drive on Friday, prodding police on an express probe.
The letter, signed by some thousand students and handed over to SSP Saket Singh, read: “We are shocked by the brutal murder of Bhavesh Lodha... We request you to take necessary steps to make this city crime-free and arrest the culprits without delay.”
Students had also planned a protest march in the capital, but were dissuaded by city SP Manoj Ratan, who asked the St Xavier’s management not to “politicise” the killing.
The department of retail management, which is a centre of vocational studies under the commerce wing of the college, remained closed for the day. The college held a condolence meet, while a group of teachers and students visited Bhavesh’s bereaved family.
Neither the boy’s parents, nor his two younger sisters were in a state of mind to talk to the media.
Mohammed Samar, a student of computer application at St Xavier’s and a childhood friend, recalled how Bhavesh worked after class to supplement his father’s income.
“He was a good son — committed. After college, he used to work at a cycle shop (not his father’s) till 6.30pm. He was a great friend too. We were like brothers since kindergarten. He never had had enemies,” said Samar.
Neeraj Kumar, a classmate, said he was yet to come to terms with reality. “In the morning, I saw him. In the evening, he was no more. I don’t know what to say,” he added.