The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has sent a notice to the HRD Ministry over the reported suicide of 49 students, including Dalits, of residential Jawahar Navodaya Vidyalayas (JNVs) between 2013 and 2017.
NHRC in a statement Tuesday said, reportedly, "all, except seven, were suicides by hanging, and the bodies were discovered either by classmates or members of the school staff".
"The NHRC has taken suo motu cognisance of a media report that 49 students of the residential Jawahar Navodaya Vidyalayas (JNVs) committed suicide in campus over five years, from 2013 to 2017," the rights panel said.
Half of them were Dalit and tribal students, and a majority of them were boys, it said.
The JNVs are reported to be the central government's pace-setting residential schools for talented children from rural India, the NHRC said.
Expressing its serious concern, the commission has issued a notice to the secretary of the Union Ministry of Human Resource Development (HRD), it said.
It has sought information within six weeks on whether trained counselors are available on campuses to whom adolescent students can open up and talk about their feelings, the commission said.
Information has also been sought on whether dedicated staff are their to ensure that children are not left alone in rooms, and emergency assistance through telephone counselling and suicide hotline services are available to them, the rights panel said.