Family Demands Probe into IIT Bombay Student's Suicide from the Perspective of Caste Discrimination

The family believes that Darshan was pushed to commit suicide because of the harassment he faced as a reserved category student.
IIT-BombayPic- Internet

Mumbai— The family members of Darshan Solanki, a first-year B.Tech (Chemical) student at IIT Bombay who died by suicide, held a press conference at Mumbai Press Club to protest the sidelining of the incidence of caste discrimination.

They claimed that there is fresh evidence to prove that Darshan was facing caste-based discrimination. The press conference was addressed by Ramesh Solanki, the father of Darshan Solanki, Jhanvi Solanki, his sister, and Bhalchandra Mungekar, a former MP.

Jhanvi, the sister of Darshan, stated, "In the second week of April, I stumbled upon Darshan’s social media accounts while trying to log in. She came across Darshan’s chat with an account of one 'Sam Rajput' on Instagram. On February 7, 2023, just a few days before Darshan’s death, Sam Rajput asked Darshan for his IIT-JEE rank. Darshan told him his JEE rank. Further, Darshan went on to say in the chat that since Sam now knows Darshan’s category, he will probably also not like Darshan anymore." She revealed that Darshan had confided in her that some people used to make fun of his computer knowledge and taunt "Dalit Ayaa Dalit Ayaa" behind his back.

She alleged that the police knew about this incident but failed to investigate the case with a caste angle. The family demands that the SIT (Special Investigation Team), which is investigating the case, takes the caste discrimination factor into account.

Ramesh Solanki, Darshan's father, stated, "It is highly appalling to see that SIT continues to sideline the caste-based discrimination incidents Darshan has faced, when there is overwhelming evidence pointing out to the caste discrimination faced by Darshan and the impact it had on him. The latest media reports that suggest SIT’s ruling out of caste discrimination faced by Darshan from his classmates and roommate, in light of the handwritten note which names one student, the handwriting has been disputed by me and my daughter, Janvi, are concerning. The family believes that Darshan was pushed to commit suicide because of the harassment he faced as a reserved category student, which is evident from the overwhelming evidence in that regard."

The family alleged that the concerned police officers of Powai Police Station conducted a search in Darshan’s room and seized all electronic devices, including his mobile phone, laptop, pen drive, and other items belonging to him, but did not provide clone copies of the seized devices to the family. Darshan’s family expressed apprehension that many pieces of evidence could have been buried under the guise of investigation. 

Bhalchandra Mungekar, who also addressed the press conference, informed, "The family has written complaint letters to the Chief Minister, Home Minister, Commissioner of Police, and also to the National Commission for Scheduled Castes, reporting the sidelining of caste discrimination in the ongoing investigation."

Earlier, a special SC/ST Court granted bail to IIT Bombay student Arman Khatri, observing that there is nothing on record to show that he harassed fellow student Darshan Solanki over his caste, and that a mere allegation in suicide is not sufficient to conclude that he pushed Darshan to commit suicide.

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