IIT-M student death | Chorus builds for transparent probe

DMK president M.K. Stalin has urged the State government to order a time-bound, transparent and independent probe into the alleged suicide of a student of the Indian Institute of Technology Madras.

Fathima Latheef, a first-year student of the five-year integrated Humanities course and a rank-holder, joined the IIT in July 2019 and was found dead in her room on Saturday. Her family has alleged that she had killed herself after facing harassment from the institute’s faculty.

In a statement, Mr. Stalin expressed his shock over the incident and pointed out that Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan had called for a fair probe, and that the Tamil Nadu government should take note of this.

Fathima’s mother had said her daughter’s death had shaken the family’s trust in Tamil Nadu.

This was a matter of shame, the DMK leader said. He called for avoiding the “saffronisation of educational institutions” and sought measures to ensure that all were treated as equals.

In a tweet, PMK founder S. Ramadoss called for an investigation into the alleged harassment by the faculty which, he claimed, had led to Fathima’s suicide, besides steps to curb incidents of student suicide.

Appropriate punishment

MDMK founder Vaiko called for a fair probe and appropriate punishment for the culprits.

VCK chief Thol Thirumavalavan said the incident should not be viewed as a case of suicide, but that of ‘institutional murder’.

“A murder case should be filed and those involved immediately arrested. The government should provide ₹1 crore as compensation to Fathima’s family,” he said.

Tamil Nadu Congress Committee president K.S. Alagiri urged the State government to ensure that an independent probe is conducted and the truth brought out.

AMMK leader T.T.V. Dhinakaran called for a probe and suitable action against those responsible.

He also suggested that counselling be provided to the faculty and also the students.

[Assistance for overcoming suicidal thoughts is available on the State’s health helpline 104 and Sneha’s suicide prevention helpline 044-24640050.]

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