Student suicide: IIT-M says committed to fair play

IMAGE: DMK youth wing cadres display placards and raise slogans during a protest demanding a fair probe in the alleged suicide case of 19-year-old student Fatima Lateef, outside IIT Madras in Chennai, on Friday. Photograph: PTI Photo

As political parties including the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam staged protests on Friday pressing their demand for ‘a transparent‘ probe into the suicide of an Indian Institute of Technology Madras student, the institution said it is extending full cooperation to the police investigation, transferred to the Central Crime Branch.

Asserting that it was committed to fair play, IIT Madras deplored social media trolling and rumours against it besides the ‘media trial‘ over the death of first year humanities student Fathima Latheef, who ended her life in the hostel on November 9.

Political parties have demanded a thorough probe after the family of the student, who hailed from Kerala, accused a faculty member of the IIT-M of driving her to commit suicide.

 

A day after the probe into the suicide was transferred to the Central Crime Branch, police officials, visited the campus in connection with the investigation.

Cadres of the DMK youth wing, Congress affiliated National Students Union of India and Communist Party of India‘s student wing, All India Students Federation staged protest demonstrations in front of the institute seeking justice for Fathima Latheef.

DMK cadres held placards embossed with images of Fathima and slogans like ‘besiege IIT protest; seeking justice for Fathima Latheef‘.

Several others including women activists waved placards that alleged, ‘It is not a suicide, it is institutional murder.‘

Raising slogans condemning the Tamil Nadu and Central governments, they demanded justice for the student from them.

The IIT Madras, in a statement, in Chennai said the students, faculty, staff, and residents were deeply saddened and ‘extremely perturbed by the unfortunate and untimely demise of our student, Fathima Lathief, and the events that unfolded thereafter‘.

As soon as the incident came to its knowledge, police was informed immediately and they were being extended full cooperation, the prestigious institution said.

“IIT Madras is committed to do whatever is required as per law and ensure fair-play.”

However, the social media trolling against it, the faculty members and students and ‘trial by the media, even before the conclusion of the police investigation, is gravely demoralising…‘ it said.

Also, it ‘tarnished the reputation‘, of one of the finest institutes in the country.

Asserting that its faculty is known for high quality, integrity and fairness, IIT Madras said: ‘We reiterate that we are fully cooperating with the police investigation… our humble appeal to all concerned is not to initiate or spread any rumours about the institute‘ and let the inquiry be completed.

The institute said it continued to mourn the loss of the promising young student and assured continuation of all efforts to ensure the physical and mental well-being of its students, faculty and staff.

A possee of police personnel was deployed in front of the main entrance of the IIT Madras in view of the protests. The institute also increased the number of private security guards.

Stalin had on Thursday demanded a transparent and independent probe into the episode.

Pattali Makkal Katchi chief S Ramadoss had sought investigation into allegation of harassment by the faculty.

Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi chief Thol Thirumavalavan had said the incident should not be seen as suicide but ‘institutional murder‘.

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