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Dalit student's suicide: IIT Bombay forms a panel for probe

IIT Bombay

Mumbai: The Indian Institute of Technology Bombay has formed a panel to conduct a "parallel" probe into the death of 18-year-old Dalit students. There have been allegations that caste discrimination is the reason behind his death.

The Powai police are also investigating the matter.

The first-year B.Tech student Darshan Solanki from Ahmedabad belonged to a Scheduled Caste community. He allegedly died by suicide by jumping off the seventh floor of a hostel building on the Powai campus of the IIT on February 12. A student group and his family alleged that he faced discrimination on campus.

The family also suspects something is wrong with his death. They maintained that there was a strong possibility that he was "murdered".

The probe panel is headed by Professor Nand Kishore and also has SC/ST Students Cell members, including faculty and students, a few student mentor coordinators, and the in-charge chief medical officer of IIT Bombay hospital. Students are urged to come forward with any "relevant" information.

The Institute Director Subhasis Chaudhuri said Prof. Nand Kishore was the chief vigilance officer of IIT Bombay till recently and is experienced "in these matters". He added that the committee is actively meeting everyone who might have relevant information. "If you have any information that you believe may be relevant, please reach out to the committee by either meeting any of the committee members, or by emailing Prof. Nand Kishore or the Powai Police."

He highlighted that both the panel and police are investigating the "environment, incidents, and reasons behind Darshan's tragic death". The student's phone and laptop have been taken for forensic analysis.

Addressing the allegation of discrimination, he said: "IIT Bombay has an SC/ST students cell, where students can reach in case of issues including discrimination. We are working actively to create an inclusive campus where all students feel at home. Strong warnings are given against any discrimination during new students' formal orientation and also sensitise all students to not seek proxy information such as ranks in entrance exams. We have a very strict policy on discrimination by faculty."

In the same statement, Chaudhari said the institute is working towards changes in their UG curriculum, starting with the batch of 2022, to make it "more relevant and motivating to students, and to reduce some of the stress".

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TAGS:IIT BombayIIT Bombay suicideIIT Bombay Dalit student suicide
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