GEORGE TOWN: In a week's time, he would have enrolled in a private college to pursue his dream of becoming a music composer. But now, 18-year-old student T. Nhaveen is on life support because he has been declared brain dead.
The boy, described as a kind, soft-spoken and gentle type who never went looking for trouble, was allegedly assaulted by a group of teenagers at around midnight on Saturday at a field in Jalan Kaki Bukit in Bukit Gelugor, and was sent to Penang Hospital in an unconscious state.
Nhaveen is now warded in the intensive care unit of Penang Hospital.
What has compounded his family's grief is the news that Nhaveen was sodomised and burned - news that they received only 36 hours after he was warded.
Nhaveen's uncle M. Vincent claimed that when his nephew was warded on Saturday, three medical officers attended to him but the family was told that he had not sustained external injuries.
"They told us Nhaveen had internal bleeding in his head and abdomen on the very first day.
"Only some 36 hours later, the doctors and nurses informed us that he was sodomised and there were burns on his back.
"The doctors also showed Nhaveen's mother and the investigating officer injuries to his anus and private parts," he told a press conference at the hospital yesterday.
Family friend Datuk Baljit Singh, who is also a lawyer, urged police to investigate the case thoroughly.
"I was told by the family that the victim was sodomised."
"As the doctor said he was sodomised, please come and (interview) the doctor," he urged police.
It is learnt that the doctor has already conducted a rectal swab on Nhaveen and the sample has been sent to the forensics unit for analysis.
Penang Hospital Visitors' Board chairman Lim Thoon Deong said the hospital would try its level best to save the boy.
"He came here in a very critical state and the hospital multidisciplinary team is doing all they can for him. There is no element of negligence, to my knowledge," said Lim.
He added that he had told the hospital to arrange a meeting between the family members and the specialists.
Meanwhile, George Town OCPD Asst Comm Anuar Omar confirmed that Nhaveen had sustained injuries consistent with what the family was told.
"Specialists certified that there were burn marks on his back, and signs that a blunt object was inserted into the victim's anus," he said.
ACP Anuar said police had arrested all five suspects, aged between 16 and 18, who were believed to be involved in the attack.
They are initially being investigated under Section 148 of the Penal Code for rioting with weapons.
Nhaveen and his best friend T. Previin, 19, were both attacked on the night in question.
"According to Previin's statement, the fight started with teasing between the two victims and two former schoolmates they met at a burger stall," ACP Anuar said.
It is learnt that Previin, who had facial injuries and was earlier discharged from the hospital, came back in yesterday for a surgical procedure.
Bukit Gelugor MP Ramkarpal Singh Deo and Seri Delima assemblyman R.S.N. Rayer also visited Nhaveen.
"I hope that the police will investigate the case from all angles," said Ramkarpal, who said the medical report indicated a serious crime.
It was reported on Sunday that Nhaveen was beaten up by a group of teenagers with helmets.
He was seriously injured and taken to the hospital in an unconscious state.
Previin was also attacked but managed to escape.