Mystery continues to shroud the circumstances in which an 18-year-old aeronautical engineering student suffered severe burns in his hostel bathroom in north Bangalore last week.
Ajmal PM, a student at the Sha-Shib College of Engineering in Chikkaballapur, had gone to his room to take a bath after playing tennis on March 22.
After a while, he started screaming for help. His friends rushed in and found Ajmal on the floor with burns all over his body. He was immediately taken to the government-run Victoria Hospital and is in a critical condition.
Ajmal initially told the police that senior students who were ragging him threw him into the bathroom and set him afire. Later, he said students smoked inside the hostel and he had no idea how the fire broke out.
An attempt to murder case has been registered against the accused seniors.
However, Ajmal's changing statements have led the police to suspect that the boy either tried to commit suicide or got burnt in a fire that started accidentally because he was smoking inside the bathroom.
"There was some thinner in the bathroom. It is possible that a spark from his cigarette ignited the fire," said a police officer. "The boy could be lying about ragging because he does not want his parents to know about his smoking habit."
However, Ajmal’s parents and friends alleged that seniors used to rag Ajmal and extort money. "We suspect foul play because some students told us that a matchbox which was in the bathroom has gone missing after the incident," said Abdul Fatha, Ajmal's uncle.