Four students of Vellore’s Christian Medical College were suspended on Wednesday for torturing a monkey to death in their hostel. The atrocity came to light after an anonymous caller informed Mumbai-based animal activist Meet Azhar of the incident, after which Azhar relayed the information to four activists in Chennai, The News Minute reported.

According to Shravan Krishnan, one of the Chennai-based activists, at least 30 students had witnessed the brutal act on Saturday. An autopsy of the monkey’s body, which was exhumed from behind the hostel mess, showed that its hands, legs and neck were tied up with a phone wire, he said. “The animal’s knees, neck and ankles were fractured, implying that it was thrashed...It was impaled with a sharp object from behind and it came out from the front,” Krishnan added.

The four MBBS students had caught the animal after it entered their hostel room. “The female monkey must have been just about a year old and hence not very ferocious,” Krishnan said.

Principal of Christian Medical College Anna B Pulimood said the students – Rohit Kumar Yenukotti, Alex Chekalayil, Arun Loui Sasi Kumar and Jasper Samuel Sahoo – were suspended “after a preliminary inquiry was conducted by an internal committee”. A police officer said a case had been registered against them under relevant sections of the Indian Penal Code as well as the Wildlife Protection Act, and they had been taken in for questioning at the Bagayam police station.

This comes months after two MBBS students from Chennai were arrested and later released on bail for throwing a dog off a terrace.