Student suicide: State Commission for Women visits IIT Madras

Tamil Nadu State Commission for Women chairperson Kannegi Packianathan visited IIT Madras on Thursday to enquire about the suicide of first-year post-graduate student Fathima Latheef last month, as well as about issues faced by students. Sources in the Commission said that the chairperson met with the registrar, dean of students, and a few faculty members who taught Fathima, and enquired about the circumstances that led to her death.

Though the chairperson and other officials from the Commission managed to interact with some students, a majority of them were not in the hostel, as they are now on vacation. The hostel room used by Fathima remained sealed by the police for their investigation.

Ms. Kannegi enquired in particular with both the administration and the students about the mechanisms in place to counsel students who are stressed. She enquired if regular follow-ups were done with students who approach staff for counselling, a senior official from the Commission said.

Sources in the Commission said that this was a preliminary visit and a follow-up visit will be done to conduct further enquiries, based on which the Commission may report its findings and recommendations.

Meanwhile, a section of students, part of the team that organised protests in the campus following Fathima’s death demanding a detailed investigation, said that they were not aware of the Commission’s visit.

“We did not receive any communication from the administration that the Commission was visiting the campus. We would have made a representation on the issues faced by us in the campus,” one of the students said.

The Commission’s Joint Director S. Revathi, members Uma Maheshwari and Juliet, were part of the team that visited the campus.

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