Back-to-back tragedies at IIT Madras: Another student dies by suicide, second incident in a month!

The vast premises of the prestigious Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Madras has been caught up with back-to-back tragedies over the suicides of students. On Tuesday - March 14, a B.Tech student of the institution had died by suicide in his hostel room. 

The deceased student has been identified as 23-year-old Vaipu Pushpak Sri Sai. A native of Andhra Pradesh, Sai was a third-year Electrical Engineering student. He was staying at the Alakananda hostel. His friends went to check on him on Tuesday afternoon since Sai didn't come out of the room since morning. When the friends opened the room door, they were shocked that Sai was found dead. 

The incident was reported to the Kotturpuram police. The police officials have recovered his body and sent it to the Royapettah government hospital to perform an autopsy. A probe has been launched into the student's death and the institution has issued an official statement. IIT-Madras said, "Post COVID-19 has been a challenging environment and the Institute has been endeavouring to improve and sustain the well-being of the students/scholars, faculty, and staff on campus while constantly evaluating the various support systems in place." 

The institute's administration has further said that an Internal Inquiry Committee has been formed recently and asserted that this committee will look into the recent suicides. "The parents of the student have been informed and we request everyone to please respect the privacy of the family at this unfortunate moment. The institute expresses its sincere condolences and stands united in grief along with the friends and family of the deceased student", the statement added. 

According to reports, Sai was found hanging in his hostel room. A police officer in the probe team said that a preliminary investigation indicated that the deceased student may have had issues on focusing on his studies and completing his academic tasks. It is pertinent to note that this is the second case of suicide in the past month at IIT Madras. On February 13, a second-year research scholar in the Electrical Engineering Department was found dead in his hostel room.

The deceased student was identified as Steven and was a native of Maharashtra. He was staying at Sindhu Hostel inside the campus. In the same day, another student had attempted suicide and he was eventually saved. These incidents had sparked protests in the campus as the students demanded the management to enhance the mental health support systems to prevent such tragedies in the future.