Dravidar Kazhagam, Naam Tamilar Katchi and Tamilaga Valvurimai Katchi have demanded a thorough investigation into the death of an IIT-Madras student, Fathima Latheef, hailing from Kerala. The student’s family had alleged that she ended her life due to harassment by her professors in the Humanities Department.
In a statement, Dravidar Kazhagam president K. Veeramani on Friday asked why there has been a spate of suicides in IIT Madras over time.
“Fathima’s father has said that professor Sudarshan Padmanabhan and those associated with him had discriminated against her based on her religion and that she had mentioned how her Muslim name was a disadvantage to her. Why are IITs dominated by Brahmins? Is there an unwritten rule that others should not enter IIT and study?” he asked.
He said that there should be a long-term solution to prevent what he termed as “institutional murders”. The student body’s should not become mouth-pieces of the university administration and they must reflect the voice of the students.
Naam Tamilar Katchi chief co-ordinator Seeman said that Fathima Lateef’s death was a clear cut-case of a student being attacked psychologically by discriminating against her based on religion. “This incident has put a question mark on India’s multi-cultural nature and secular values. The State government must conduct a thorough investigation into this issue and arrest the professor responsible for her death,” he said.
TVK leader T. Velmurugan also said that the deaths in IITs are not being properly probed.
“Even professors in IIT have died by suicide. Earlier this year, Professor Aditi Sharma died but it was said that the reason was family issues. While there are many reasons for the continuation of such murders, one of the main reason is the lack of proper implementation of reservation in the appointment of IIT professors and in student intake,” he said.
Assistance for those with suicidal tendencies is available on the State health helpline 104.