IIT Bombay Dalit student death: Dr Bhalchandra Mungekar, ex Rajya Sabha member, demands SIT probe into his death 

On February 12, Darshan Solanki B-Tech first-year student, had died by suicide, serious claims of caste discrimination were made, countrywide protests followed

Bhalchander Mungekar

Dr Bhalchandra Mungekar, a former Rajya Sabha member, former member of the Planning Commission and vice chancellor of Mumbai University, has demanded the setting up of a special investigation team to investigate the alleged suicide of a young Dalit IIT-Bombay student, Darshan Solanki from Gujarat. 

On February 22, while addressing a press conference, Mungekar alleged that the deceased, Darshan Solanki, was a victim of institutionalised caste discrimination, just like Hyderabad Central University student, Rohith Vemula, who had also died by suicide on campus in the year 2016. He had stated, “Darshan Solanki’s family members have already claimed that he faced caste discrimination during his first semester.” Mungekar has demanded that this case should be probed extensively, media reported.

In this connection, Dr Mungekar has met Dr Subhasis Chaudhuri, director of IIT-B, and the Powai Police to obtain information, after which he has made serious claims that the Mumbai police authorities are not taking the case seriously. He also alleged that the postmortem of Solanki was done without informing his family. The internal committee that they (IIT-B) have formed to investigate the matter does not look reliable, Dr Mungekar has alleged. “I’ve asked them to appoint people from outside to bring inauthenticity. The (Powai) police have not added the Atrocity Act in the case, which is unfair,” said Mungekar, reported the Free Press Journal. 

Elaborating on the bias displayed by the police, Mangekar also pointed out that the police had carried out the post mortem without any permission from his parents. He also said that the post mortem was conducted by the police even before the parents had arrived here in Mumbai, all of which pointed to foul play. According to him, many aspects of the case are being suppressed even when there is enough evidence that Darshan faced caste-based discrimination. 

Calling this death by suicide as a case of institutional murder and not an accidental case, he further demanded that the FIR should be filed with sections inserted from the SC-ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act. 

Mungekar has also informed the media that along with the Mumbai Pradesh Congress Committee, a protest will be organised on March 4 to demand action against those involved in the death of IIT-Bombay student Darshan Solanki.

“Various like-minded organisations will gather at Azad Maidan on March 4 and protest in support of an SIT and action against those involved in his death,” he was quoted as saying. Mungekar had further added that Darshan’s father is also going to participate in the March 4 protest. 

Darshan Solanki’s death

Darshan Solanki, a B-Tech first-year student at IIT Bombay, died by suicide on February 12. Following his death, a group of students had made serious allegations that he was driven towards dying by suicide as a result of being discriminated against because of his caste. The institution had denied the allegations, and the police had also ruled out any foul play.

https://ssl.gstatic.com/ui/v1/icons/mail/images/cleardot.gifDarshan’s parents, Ramesh and Tarlika Solanki, had called for a candlelight march in Ahmedabad on February 19. The family had requested a SIT investigation into his death as well as the implementation of the Rohith Vemula Act.


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