Deaths at IIT-M: Girl students scared to stay in hostel rooms

Chennai: On the first day of the new year, the city woke up to a shocking news. Yet another life was lost at the IIT-Madras campus.

Ranjana Kumari (25), a research scholar from Jharkhand, was found hanging in her room at the first floor of Sabarmati hostel.

According to sources, she joined IIT-M in 2017, and was working to earn a PhD in Metallurgy and Material Sciences.

“Following the incident, there are hardly two girls staying back in their rooms at night. The remaining are staying in their friends’ rooms,” a students on the campus, said.

Speaking on this, a police officer stated, “Preliminary inquiries say, the girl was undergoing depression and was being treated for it. She was a loner and was affected by the separation of her father. Her teachers and friends said that she was excellent in studies.”

For the students on the other hand, this is a lot to take in, as, this was the third death in three months.

On 5 December, a teaching faculty of the institute ended her life, allegedly out of mental stress.
Aditi Simha (48), a native of Bengaluru, was an assistant professor in the Physics department.
Simha was, reportedly, separated from her husband three years ago and lived alone at her quarter on the campus.

Earlier, in September, Shahal Kormath, a post graduate student, pursuing Ocean Engineering, took a similar extreme step.

Even though he did not leave behind a suicide note, it was claimed that fear of not being allowed to take up the final examinations due to low attendance, drove him to suicide.

Speaking about the repeated cases of depression deaths, an officer from the Kotturpuram police station, said, “Higher officials in the ranks of Deputy Commissioner and Joint Commissioner have written to the institute’s Director to take steps and address the issue. Students should be provided counselling and other assistance to come out of stress.”

Naomi N