Madhuri's death: 8th suicide at IIT Kanpur in 5 years

Madhuri's death: 8th suicide at IIT Kanpur in 5 years
Kanpur The suicide of a final year BTech student at IIT-Kanpur is the eighth such incident at the prestigious institute in the past five years.

Apart from 22-year-old Madhuri Sale, who was found hanging from the ceiling fan of her hostel room yesterday, seven other students of the college have taken their lives since 2005.

On January 2009, a second year MTech student G Suman (24) hanged himself, while in April 2008, first year BTech student Prashant Kumar took his life, followed by Toya Chatterjee, who was in fourth year of the same course, the next month.

J Bhardwaj killed himself in April 2007, Abhilash Pillai took his life in November 2006, Shailesh Sharma in April 2006 and Swapnil Bhaskar in November 2005.

Everytime a student committed suicide, an inquiry committee was set up by the institute to ascertain the cause of the extreme step, but the findings were never made public.

Sanjeev Kashalkar, Registrar of IIT-Kanpur, told PTI that the findings of these committees were discussed by the institute's board of directors which sent copies of the reports to the advisory committee as well as the HRD Ministry.

However, the contents of these reports are not disclosed to the media, he said, without giving reasons.

Apart from three teachers of the college, a member of the students' union has also been included in each committee. However, one such student told PTI on condition of anonymity that student members of the inquiry committees are neither called for any meeting nor are they informed about the findings.

Such committees are just an eyewash, he said, adding that students do not question college authorities over the issue as they fear that action could be taken against them.

Kashalkar said the previous inquiry reports state that the students committed suicide as most of them were going through stress and anxiety as a result of parental pressure and career-related worries.

On the suicide committed at the institute's premises yesterday, he said Madhuri, who hailed from Andhra Pradesh, was a good student and it is difficult to determine why she took the extreme step.

However, he said that stress due to the ongoing examinations could be a reason, though nothing can be said till the committee constituted yesterday arrives at a
conclusion.

On being asked what steps the college has taken to reduce stress among students to prevent such incidents, the Registrar said apart from yoga and counselling centres, the institute has two trained psychologists who can be approached by students to share their problems.
Story First Published: November 18, 2010 16:12 IST

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