Another student lost to suicide at IIT-Delhi

The incident where 24 year old MTech student allegedly committed suicide at the IIT-Delhi. The incident comes as India’s premier institutes, the IITs, continue to be criticised as hostile places for students from marginalised backgrounds

A 24-year-old Sanjay Nerkar, an MTech student at the Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi, is suspected to have taken his own life, as per a police report. The incident came to light after family members became worried and contacted a friend who made a PCR call.

In response to the suicide, the institute saw widespread protest after which the administration took organised an open house at the campus where more than 2,000 students participated in this event, and raised various concerns related to mental health, placement uncertainties, limited flexibility in choosing academic guides, and other pressing issues. A survey was also conducted by the student body which reflected that there is a collective mood to address these challenges at their roots. Responding to the incident the IIT-Delhi administration has decided to defer the mid-semester examinations originally scheduled from February 21 to 24, according to the Indian Express.

According to the Free Press Journal, this incident is the fourth student suicide in the institute this academic year.

According to Maktoob Media, in July 2023, IIT-Bombay had tried to create and implement an anti-discrimination policy that would include both direct and indirect forms of caste-related abuse. This policy also mandated against commenting on or asking about students’ caste backgrounds and JEE ranks. However, Maktoob Media reported that several other IITs have yet to formally adopt and implement this policy.

Furthermore, just like the one conducted in the recent incident of student suicide, Maktoob Media reported that the IITs have been conducting Open House sessions to engage with students. However, during the last Open House at IIT-Delhi, the report said that there were police officials present at these open houses even though the goal is to create open and dialogue with students.

Earlier this year, a 29 year old research scholar was found dead in her room at the IIT-Kanpur on January 18. She had only joined the institute some 20 days prior to her death. Even prior to this, another student from a marginalised community, Vikas Kumar Meena was found dead due to suicide on January 11, just a week prior at the same institute.

The IITs continue to draw criticism for harbouring and not doing enough to tackle caste-based discrimination within the universities. In 2023, two Dalit students, Ayush Ashna and Anil Kumar, had reportedly killed themselves in the institute. In February 2023, even Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud talked about the issue of Dalit suicides at India’s premier institutes, and stated, “Incidents of suicides of students from marginalised communities are becoming common. These numbers are not just statistics. They are stories of centuries of struggle.”



The Reign of Unfreedom: IIT-Bombay & the cancellation of the Dr Ganesh Devy lecture

IIT Kanpur: Third incident of suicide in five weeks, a 29-year-old PhD scholar found dead in her dorm room

Segregation of Eating Spaces: Modern Untouchability in IITs



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