College trip ends in tragedy: Did skinny-dipping in freezing Nainital cost student's life?

Jan 01, 2019, 08:40 IST | Diwakar Sharma and Nimesh Dave

BMS student's body fished out from lake; while college sources say it was a dare gone wrong, family suspects foul play

College trip ends in tragedy: Did skinny-dipping in freezing Nainital cost student's life?
Ishwar's family and friends flocked to the gate of the BK Shroff college to get updates from Nainital

Kandivli resident and third year BMS student of BK Shroff College, Kandivli, Ishwar Singh drowned in a lake in Nainital on Monday, where he'd gone for a nine-day trip with his college friends. Ishwar, 21, supposedly went into the lake shirtless as part of a 'challenge' to see who could survive in the near-freezing waters. However, his family has cried foul, claiming that he would not have voluntarily entered the lake because he didn't know how to swim.

The principal of BK Shroff college of arts and MH Shroff college of commerce, Dr. Lily Bhushan, told mid-day that 115 students and eight professors had gone for a trip to Haridwar, Nainital and Mussoorie.

Part of a challenge?
Dr Bhushan told mid-day, "We learnt about the extremely unfortunate incident this [Monday] morning. Professor Mahesh Lavate, who has also gone for the trip, called me in the morning and said one boy is missing. Later, he informed me that his body has been recovered from a lake in Nainital."

Ishwar Singh, who his family says did not know how to swim, supposedly went into the lake as part of a 'challenge'. Pics/Nimesh Dave
Ishwar Singh, who his family says did not know how to swim, supposedly went into the lake as part of a 'challenge'. Pics/Nimesh Dave

Sources said the local police and a team of the National Disaster Relief Fund (NDRF) carried out a search operation and fished out Ishwar's body at 7:30 am on Monday. Bhushan added, "I was told by some of the students that a group of eight boys came up with a challenge to see who can enter the lake shirtless in the morning. Accepting the challenge, Ishwar might have entered the water and died of the cold. He was a very bright student and excelled in extra-curricular activities."

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'Couldn't even swim'
On Monday, his family and friends flocked to the college gate to know what was happening in Nainital. The Kandivali police have revved up security around college. Ishwar's father runs an imitation jewelry business in Kandivli, while his mother is a homemaker. They have been inconsolable since learning about his death.

Ishwar Singh
Ishwar Singh

His relatives have cried foul play. "Why would he enter the water when he does not know how to swim? Our relatives are going there to take stock of the matter," said Jabbar Singh, Ishwar's uncle.

Another relative, Arjun Singh, said, "Why would a Bombay boy wake up at 6 am in bone-chilling cold where the temperature is minus 3 degree Celsius and enter the near-frozen lake water? We don't know what happened to him."

The post-mortem has been conducted at a government-run hospital in Nainital. Ishwar's last rites will be performed at his ancestral home in Udaipur district, according to another uncle Narpat Singh.

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