The recent suicide of a Dalit student in Amritsar, Pamposh (26), has added to the alarming trend of incidents of discrimination and prejudice in higher education. The young doctor, who was interning at the Sri Guru Ram Das Institute of Medical Sciences and Research in Vallah, committed suicide in her hostel situated in the hospital complex. The institute is run by the Shiromani Gurudwara Prabandhak Committee (SGPC).
Shockingly, doctors at the institution where she studied were reported to have made casteist slurs and issued threats, indicating that they would not allow her to complete her MBBS degree.This tragic event comes soon after the suicide of a tribal student in Warangal, Andhra Pradesh, highlighting the disturbingly high number of suicides among students from marginalized communities in India.
A complaint has been registered in connection with the suicide at the Maqboolpura police station in Amritsar. The mother of the deceased has filed a case against 10 individuals, including two professors, four students, and the Head of Department of Women's Health, Dr. Pratibha, Dr. Birdawinder Singh, and others. The case has been filed under section 306 of the Indian Penal Code, which deals with abetment of suicide, as well as Section 3 of the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe (Prevention of Atrocities) Act.
Kamlesh Rani, the mother of the deceased, stated that she belongs to Jalandhar and her daughter had taken admission to this college in 2017 and was interning after completing her MBBS. She further added that her daughter was brilliant in her studies but the doctors made casteist slurs against her and threatened not to let her complete her MBBS. According to the complaint, she had reported the matter to the principal, but to no avail.
The complainant has also alleged that the principal used to insult her daughter. According to her, the deceased had confided in her and her maternal grandmother about this. When she was unable to contact her daughter for two days, she went to her hostel. Kamlesh Rani revealed that her husband had passed away, and she was struggling to meet the educational expenses of her daughter.
According to NCRB data, in 2022 the student suicides registered an increase of 4.5% and reached an all time high. In 2023 also there has been a spurt in cases of suicides in India.
12 February: Darshan Solanki, an 18-year-old Chemical Engineering student, allegedly committed suicide by jumping from the 7th floor of his hostel building. A committee was formed to investigate the matter, and it submitted its report, giving a clean chit to the administration. However, activists and academicians have criticized the report.
20 February: A 19-year-old medical aspirant from a tribal community reportedly died by suicide in his house in Choolaimedu, Chennai. He was depressed as he could not choose the right path in education, and he had put out a video message to his friends, saying that he had decided to end his life.
27th February: Dharavath Preethi, a 26-year-old Tribal student pursuing her PG at Kakatiya Medical College, passed away after injecting herself at Mahatma Gandhi Memorial Hospital, where she was interning. Following a complaint by her father, Dr. Mohd Saif, a second-year student, was arrested, and charges of ragging, abetment to suicide, and harassment under the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act were invoked against him. Governor Tamilsai Soundararajan had visited Preethi, and a compensation of Rs 10 lakh was announced. The National Human Rights Commission and National Commission for SC/ST also took cognizance of the issue.
6th March: Nikitha, a 13-year-old student studying in the seventh grade at a Telangana Social Welfare Residential School, was found hanging from a fan in Nagarkurnool district of Telangana. The parents of the girl have alleged that Nikitha was facing harassment by the principal and staff of the institution.