Sherlock reminisced at CSI:Manipal
Manipal: Students of Kasturba Medical College’s (KMC) Forensic Department organized a one of a kind Crime Scene Investigation (CSI) event featuring three rounds of tests and investigative events at the TMA Pai Hall today.
Leading up to the artificially constructed crime scene were pictures of murders and autopsies lining the walls along with skeletal figures added in an eerily lit corridor augmenting the element of fright. The crime scene simulation itself was showcased as a murder/suicide incident involving two people, the bodies of whom were placed at the scene, amidst a chaotic set-up in the room of the occurrence. Participating teams were to explore the scene and identify up to 25 clues and chalk out an inference which would lead to an eventual reconstruction of the sequence of events leading up to the crime.
Various investigative tools were also at the disposal of teams, with magnifying lenses, microscopes, and gloves being some of the many elements added to bring out a sense of investigative prowess in the teams. The ultimate twist, however, was that once the participants recorded their observations and the tools effectively, the plot would actually prove to be a double-murder by a third individual.
The items used by the organizers to set up the crime scene pulled were basic objects from the hostel rooms. || Photograph Courtesy: Tamanna Wadehra
A few parts of the simulation could be reminisced by fans of genres relating to crime and detectives, including a clue that served as a throwback to the fan-favourite detective show, Sherlock. However, according to Abhay Bazaz, a 3rd-year KMC student who designed the set, the ultimate aim of the event was to provide insight into the workings of forensic teams, proven by the fact that a large part of the event drew inspiration from real-life cases. “Planning was the most difficult part for us while setting up the event. I had to sit with Dr. Ashwini Kumar, a faculty member, and listen to his experiences of conducting various autopsies and other cases that he has dealt in order to get a fair idea of what elements to include”, he said, adding that assembling the scene was not a tough task.
A total of 30 teams including 10 from the Udupi District Police Department had participated in the event. Ganesha, a participant in one of the police teams, said that even though he liked the idea and the set-up of the crime scene, circumstances may not always be the same for the police. “There is more of teamwork involved in an actual crime scene and things are more natural. The investigation process would involve more of forensic doctors as well”, he said, adding that the time limit of 10 minutes per team to solve the case proved very challenging to the team.
Students from various medical colleges took part in the event as well. Sandeep, a student from Father Muller Medical College (FMMC), Mangaluru, said that all three rounds put theoretical aspects of forensics into practice. “The experience was a really good one. I don’t think any other college in the country put in an effort to bring out forensics in such a manner. We got to know about the direct application of what we read in textbooks”, he stated.
The Udupi Police team in action. || Photograph courtesy: Tamanna Wadehra.
The other two rounds of the competition consisted of a questionnaire following the forensic analysis of samples in the first one, and a general quiz on crime scenes in the final round. For the future, JUSTITIA, the forensic science society of KMC Manipal and the organizers wish to host a similar event, albeit on a much larger scale. “We hope to expand the scene, maybe even to simulate a terrorist attack, and to include it in the International Quiz for Medical Undergraduates (IQMU) next year”, said Abhay. Ultimately, in the student’s category, the team from FMMC emerged winners of the first CSI-themed competition in Manipal, with KMC Mangalore and KMC Manipal bagging the 2nd and 3rd positions respectively.
Earlier in the day, the event was inaugurated by the KMC Forensic Department, with the Superintendent of Udupi, Dr. Sanjeev Patil being the Guest of Honour. Dr. H S Ballal, Pro-Chancellor of Manipal University, presided over the inauguration. CSI:Manipal was held as part of the Indo-German Convention of Lindau Alumni (IGCLA) conference, to be held at KMC from September 21-24.
Edited by Shivani Singh
Featured Image Courtesy: Tamanna Wadehra