Bihar youth cleared law test, studied religion

Satnam Singh Mann, the 25-year-old youth who was allegedly tortured to death at a mental hospital in Kerala earlier this month, was a bright student who had cleared the Common Law Admission Test (CLAT) and was studying at the Ram Manohar Lohia Law College in Lucknow. He was also deeply interested in religion and would regularly download religious texts from the Internet and read them.

However, Mann began suffering from depression and returned home to Sherghati in Bihar's Gaya district in the second year of his law course in 2009, saying he did not want to pursue studies as he was finding "solace in the search for truth". On May 30 this year, he left home without informing anyone, before surfacing at the Mata Amrithanandamayi Ashram in Kollam, Kerala, on August 1.

He was arrested after he allegedly jumped the queue and rushed towards Amrithanandamayi. He was admitted at a mental hospital in Thiruvananthapuram where he was beaten to death. Two employees of the hospital have been arrested and four inmates will also be taken into custody after getting permission from a local court.

A police report submitted in court Monday said Mann's body had 77 torture marks. A thick cable and an iron rod were used to beat him and his head was banged against a wall, it said.

"It looks like a clear case of murder in judicial custody...he deserved sympathy, not death," said Mann's father Harendra Kumar Singh. Mann had not spoken to anyone at home since May 30 until the Kerala Police called Singh on August 1. It was be the last time he spoke to his son, even though the officer had assured him Mann would be safe in custody, Singh said.

The family is still clueless how Mann reached Kerala. Some locals are believed to have told them that Mann had been living near Amrithanandamayi's ashram and teaching Hindi. Singh said his son had a strong interest in social studies and political science and was also good at arguing issues. "That is why he decided to pursue a law career," the father recalled. "He never showed any signs of mental problems in school."

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