Chennai, Oct. 10: Three students of a Tuticorin private engineering college killed their principal on the campus this morning, taking turns to attack him with a knife and sickles days after he had suspended one of them.
L.R.D. Suresh, 53, had just stepped off his car at Infant Jesus College of Engineering and was walking to his chamber around 8.30am when the trio pounced on him.
While suspended student P. Pitchaikannan, 21, stabbed the principal in the stomach, hostel roommates G. Danish, 21, and M. Prabaharan, 21, slashed Suresh’s neck with sickles.
Other students rushed to Suresh’s rescue and took him to hospital but he succumbed to his injuries over an hour later.
The attackers tried to flee but were chased down and caught by another group of students who handed them over to police.
Officers said Pitchaikannan, a final-year aeronautical engineering student, had been suspended by Suresh over unruly behaviour, including complaints of ragging at the college in Keela Vallanad, a Tuticorin pocket 550km from Chennai.
The allegations against Pitchaikannan, who had been suspended for five days from October 7, included attacking a batchmate last week following a brawl over occupying a seat in the college bus.
Pitchaikannan had decided “to teach the principal a lesson” and plotted the attack with roommates, who too had been rapped for alleged indiscipline in the past, the police said after speaking to students and college staff.
Danish is a final-year information technology student and Prabaharan is in the third year of his four-year civil engineering course.
The three have been booked for murder and other offences.
“Suresh was a devoted principal and a disciplinarian, which was one reason our college was most sought-after in this district. It is a tragedy. The college will remain closed till October 16,” said college counsellor John Samuel, who was among those on the campus who watched the horror unfold.