Murder leaves Aryabhatta College students stunned

- June 21, 2023
| By : Ahona Sengupta |

An eerie silence prevails at the Delhi University college days after a 19-year-old student was stabbed to death outside its gates. While the campus limps back to normalcy, the fear is palpable among students from outside the Capital

SERIOUS CASE: The murder of Nikhil Chauhan took place outside the gates of Aryabhatta College

The murder of 19-year-old Nikhil Chauhan outside Aryabhatta College, where he was attending B.A. Honours (Political Science) first year classes, has caused havoc in the psyche of students at the campus.

On Sunday afternoon, Chauhan was stabbed to death by two assailants, Rahul and Haroon, who are in police custody now, less than 50 metres from the college campus after an alleged altercation over harassment of his female friend.

Two days after the incident, the college wore an uneasy calm as the campus limped back to normalcy.

“We are a bit confused about the incident. Many of us came to know about it through internet first and then it spread like wildfire. It was unbelievable that someone as old as us was murdered just outside the gate of the institute,” said Nisha, a first year undergraduate student of Physical Education.

Chauhan was enrolled at Delhi University’s School of Open Learning and had classes in the college only on weekends when the campus was off.

“Since regular students don’t have classes on Saturdays and Sundays, we are unaware of the incident. But when we came to know about it, it shook us,” she said.

For many young students, talking about the murder is itself “frightening”.

“Our parents have asked us to stay tight-lipped and not speak about it to anyone as they sense trouble. They have warned us against getting into arguments,” said a first year Political Science Honours student, who chose anonymity.

A moment of regret

Meanwhile, for students from outside Delhi, it has been hard to defend their decision to come to the national capital to study.

“I’ve come all the way from Sahibganj, a remote town in Jharkhand only to fulfill my dream to live and study in Delhi. To persuade my parents to allow me to come this far was a task in itself. Since Sunday, they have been calling me and asking to reconsider my decision. It’s been only a few days since college started and a murder took place right outside its gate. Our parents are worried,” said Aabha.

Her friend Sudha, from Uttar Pradesh’s Gorakhpur, too expressed similar fears.

EERIE SILENCE: The college campus is returning to normalcy slowly after the murder on Sunday

“Incidents like this make it an uphill task for young students to convince their parents to move to Delhi. During my brother’s under-graduation days in Ramjas College, people in small towns encouraged children to aim for Delhi but now things have changed. Our parents either discourage us or don’t allow at all citing such cases,” she said.

The police post near Delhi University South Campus had received a call at 12:30pm on June 18 about a “student being grievously injured”, officials told Patriot.

Preliminary investigation has revealed that the murder was a result of vendetta against the accused “who used to harass the woman”, said police.

Many students questioned the wobbly security around the campus.

“It’s the heart of Delhi’s diplomatic enclave and a hub of education as well. But look at the level of security in the area. It’s deplorable how a young student is killed in the open and in broad daylight. Nowadays, no one comes to anyone’s rescue,” said Nikhil, a third year student of Psychology.

The police post is 600 metres from the campus of Aryabhatta College, which is located close to the Embassy of Iraq.

Those accused

One of the accused, Rahul, is a first-year college student and his father runs a bread shop in Bindapur. Haroon is a friend of Rahul and works at a T-shirt factory, the police said.

A week before the murder, Rahul had harassed Chauhan’s friend to which the latter objected. This led to an argument and Rahul felt “humiliated”. Enraged by the altercation, he decided to take revenge, SHO Naresh Kumar told Patriot.

On June 18, when Chauhan was rushed to hospital with stab injuries in the chest, he was declared dead.

UNAFFECTED: Students at the cafeteria say that the impact of the murder is less since most of the students rarely saw the victim and the accused

Both the accused were nabbed by the police based on CCTV camera footage.

Soon after the shocking murder, the college has directed its security team to “check School of Open Learning students” and verify their identity cards.

While a few students echoed a sense of fear and uncertainty, the campus functioned with normal routine.

“They (Chauhan and the accused) were all Open School students. We have hardly ever seen them. Not that we don’t care, but the impact is far too less here,” said a student at the bustling cafeteria.

“The faculty has been keeping us busy since that day so that we can be distracted from all this. But at the end of the day, it’s a murder and we can’t stop thinking about it,” said another.