Is IIT Kharagpur Ignoring Student Suicide Cases?
There have been an alarming number of student suicides at Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Kharagpur.
There have been an alarming number of student suicides at Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Kharagpur.(Photo: The Quint/ Erum Gour)

Is IIT Kharagpur Ignoring Student Suicide Cases?

Student bodies of the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Kharagpur, are convinced Nikhil Bhatiya killed himself, and that the institute abetted his suicide.

Nikhil Bhatiya, a final-year student of IIT-Kharagpur, was found in a pool of blood outside a hostel in the campus. The 23-year-old succumbed to his injuries on his way to the hospital.

“The institute has been understating the problem of suicides to maintain their reputation. No official notice or acknowledgment of this incident – not even a solidarity note – has yet been issued by the institute,” a student, who wished to maintain anonymity, said.

In a video released online, students can be seen attempting to hold the institute accountable for neglecting students’ mental health.

The video lists the names of students who killed themselves in 2017. It also lays out the events that facilitated their death.

From untimely action to shortage of ambulance, to incompetent medics even – a lot of factors appeared to have contributed to Bhatiya’s death. However, the most important factor was the absence of doctors and counsellors who can provide timely help to ailing students who live on campus.

Bhatiya died in an ambulance on his way to Kolkata, which took around 2.5 hours.

“The reasons for suicide and the role of the administration, faculty, management, counselling centre, and BC Roy Hospital, should be raised. There have been some major events in the past as well. And if this is neglected yet again, the chances of such mishaps happening again are very high. It's high time it is made a priority,” the student said.

An editorial on Scholar’s Avenue, a student-run media body, alleged Bhaitiya had signs of being mentally disturbed, and needed counseling. It described the events that preceded his suicide through statements of people who were present during the time.

According to the article, Bhatiya was sent home after it was observed that he was in a state of mental discomfort, and was allowed to resume classes without having produced his fitness certificate.

The students claim that these incidents are not being dealt with the gravity they require. Through their movement, the students have put forth two demands – provision for proper healthcare within the campus and the availability of counsellors for students.

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