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Thursday, July 2, 2015

5 deaths in one month, Kota's IIT coaching institutes hit by suicide scandal - The Telegraph

5 deaths in one month, Kota's IIT coaching institutes hit by suicide scandal

Wednesday, 01 July 2015 11:08 AM

Jaipur: Rohit Singh hanged himself in his bedroom. That was on Saturday. The young man was only 18.

On June 8, Sarthak Yadav killed himself too.

Barely four days earlier, Nibha Tiwari had decided she couldn't stand it any more.

A coaching institute in Kota.

All three - Rohit, Sarthak and Nibha - had something in common. They were young, looked forward to a bright career, either as an IIT graduate or a doctor, and came to what is described as the country's coaching capital, Kota.

The Rajasthan city, some 255km from Jaipur, boasts the highest number of IIT selections every year and takes pride in its "Kota module" of updated study material and rigorous coaching.

Some 10,000 aspirants have been called for counselling this year. But five suicides this month have turned the lens on something most coaching centres, and some parents too, seem to have forgotten in the rush for success: trained counsellors to hear out the students when the going gets tough.

Tough is an understatement: the chances of success work out to something like one in 140.

According to police records, at least 11 students have committed suicide in Kota since January this year. In 2014, the number was 14, while 26 suicides were reported the year before.

Parents blame it on stress, the punishing schedule of long hours of study and preparatory exams. They also complain of lack of regular monitoring of how the students were, physically and mentally, when their tuition grades start falling.

The coaching institutes say stress is inevitable when 14 lakh students, for instance, decide to vie for 10,000 IIT seats. "Earlier, we used to hear one or two cases. Now the number of suicide cases are rising, but with so many students competing for one of the toughest tests, these numbers are minuscule," Pramod Bansal, director of Bansal Classes, told The Telegraph.

Stress, say counsellors, is indeed understandable, especially when these coaching institutes charge anything between Rs 70,000 and Rs 1.5 lakh every year from students.

What was not understandable is they don't have a system of counselling, especially before enrolling students.

True, conceded Bansal. "We don't counsel students before we take them in," he admitted. "But our doctors monitor a student who is not eating, or sleeping well or is in a kind of depression."

According to figures available, around 1.5 lakh aspiring engineers and doctors come to Kota every year, putting up in hostels, renting houses or staying as paying guests. Their day starts early: by 6am, they head to coaching centres. After tuitions, it's time for regular school or college. They don't get free before 8 in the evening. After dinner, it's study time again till they finally hit the bed.

They are also told not to sleep for over six hours. "The routine is tough, but then IIT seats are limited and time is at a premium," said Amit Yadav, a student from Jaipur.

Time was of premium too for Nibha, a girl from Jharkhand, who killed herself on June 4. A day later, the police found the bodies of Kuldeep Rastogi, of Badaun, Uttar Pradesh, and his daughter Dipanshi, 18.

Kuldeep, 48, committed suicide after killing his daughter in a hotel room. In a purported suicide note, he said he was taking the extreme step because of his poor financial condition. Counsellors say the tuition fee of the coaching institute where his daughter wanted to get enrolled was probably too high for them.

Next it was Sarthak from Saharanpur, also from Uttar Pradesh, and Ashwini Kumar from Bihar. Rohit's suicide, on June 27, was the latest.

M.L. Agarwal, a psychiatrist, said a helpline he started four years ago gets at least a 1,000 calls a year from students suffering from extreme stress.

Counsellors say the first "setback" the students in Kota suffer is when they compete with toppers from across the country and see their coaching class grades fall in comparison. "It is then that frustration anxiety sets in," Agarwal said.

Monday, June 29, 2015

Rajasthan: IIT-JEE aspirant hangs self in Kota - dna

Sunday, 28 June 2015 - 12:01pm IST | Place: Kota | Agency: 
A suicide note, in which the boy held himself responsible for the extreme step, was also recovered during the search of his room.

An 18-year-old IIT-JEE aspirant allegedly committed suicide by hanging himself from the ceiling fan in his room here, police said on Sunday. Body of Rohit Singh was recovered from his apartment on Baran road last evening, SHO Boorkheda police station, Ranvijay Singh said.

The police is investigating if the student had taken the extreme step due to stress of studies or some other reason, he said. The student, who hails from Gopalganj district of Bihar, was staying in Kota with his parents and two siblings, and preparing for IIT entrance test, the SHO said.

A suicide note, in which the boy held himself responsible for the extreme step, was also recovered during the search of his room, Assistant Sub Inspector (ASI) at Boorkheda police station Ghanshyam Lal said. The student had shut himself in his room for studying on Saturday morning but did not come out till 7.00 pm.

His mother and the neighbours informed the police following which the body was found hanging from the ceiling fan, the ASI said, adding, the boy's father is not in the city. The body has been placed in the mortuary of Maharao Bhim Singh hospital and post-mortem would be conducted today after his father arrives.

A case under section 174 of CrPC would be lodged in this connection however, the investigation is still going on, he added. 

18 years old IIT-JEE student committed suicide in Kota

18 years old IIT-JEE student committed suicide in Kota

Jun 28, 2015

18-years-old student committed suicide in Kota

As per fresh reports, Rohit Singh, an IIT-JEE candidate, has committed suicide.

The report said that the 18-years-old strung himself up from the ceiling fan in his bedroom.

SHO Boorkheda police station, Mr. Ranvijay Singh stated that the dead body of the pupil got recovered from his residence on Baran road on June 27 evening.

The police officials are probing if the pupil had taken the severe step because of pressure of studies or any other cause, Mr. Ranvijay Singh said. The pupil, who belongs to Gopalganj region of Bihar, was residing in the city of Kota with his mother-father and two sibs, and making preparations for IIT entrance examination, the SHO added.

A suicide letter, in which Rohit held himself accountable for the severe step, was also found during the investigation of his room, ASI at Boorkheda police headquarters Ghanshyam Lal stated.

The pupil had shut himself in his bedroom on June 27 morning, but did not open the door till 7.00 pm.

Rohit’s mom and the fellow citizens notified the police accompanying which Rohit’s body was discovered hanging from the ceiling fan, Ghanshyam Lal said, adding, the boy’s father is not in the city.

The dead body has been placed in the morgue of Maharao Bhim Singh hospital and postmortem examination would be carried out today after his father comes back.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

IIT-Kanpur student slits wrist in suicide bid - TNN

TNN | Jun 24, 2015, 11.23AM IST

KANPUR: A post graduate student of Indian Institute of Technology-Kanpur (IIT-K) slit his wrist in a suicide bid late on Monday evening. Panicky authorities immediately rushed him to health centre on the campus from where he was later referred to Regency Hospital in Sarvodaya Nagar. 

On Tuesday, his condition was stated to be stable. The reason behind the drastic step was yet to be ascertained. 

The authorities are waiting for the student's recovery to initiate a probe. However, his colleagues said that he took the step in depression. 

Acting director Prof Ajit Chaturvedi confirmed the incident but said that the reason behind the drastic step was yet to be ascertained. 

"We all are shocked and are unaware as to what went wrong," he said. The acting director further said that no fact finding committee had been constituted so far. 

A fellow colleague found PG student Arun Kumar Sharma lying in a pool of blood. 

Realising that Sharma had slit his wrists, the colleague immediately alerted institute authorities. After admitting him to Regency Hospital, institute authorities informed his parents in Kota. 

Meanwhile, Sharma's colleagues kept a night-long vigil in the hospital praying for his well-being. 

On Tuesday, his father Arun Sharma reached the hospital and broke down after seeing his condition. 

Attending medical staff said that the boy's condition had improved and he had been shifted to a room.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

IIT-Kanpur student attempts suicide - dna

Tuesday, 23 June 2015 - 4:41pm IST 
Place: Kanpur | Agency: PTI

No complaint was lodged with the police.

A student of IIT-Kanpur allegedly tried to commit suicide by slitting his wrist here, official said today. Arun Kumar Sharma (25), a student of Ph.D mechanical engineering who hails from Kota, attempted suicide yesterday evening in room number eight of the hostel over family problems, Administration Incharge, NN Kishore told PTI.

He was taken to the dispensary in the campus by his friends but later shifted to a private hospital after his condition deteriorated, Kishore said, adding that, the student is now out of danger. However, no complaint was lodged with the police.

No complaint has been lodged yet and Kalyanpur police was not informed about the incident, Circle Officer DSP P Mohan Tripathi said.

When contacted, Director of IIT-Kanpur Indranil Manna and Registrar RK Sachan were not available for comments. 

Saturday, June 13, 2015

A Canard about Dalit Suicides in IITs - "Q & A"

Q - I read with interest your blog on the suicides at IITs.  A canard is being spread that Dalit students form a huge portion of such suicides because of caste discrimination. I went through your list and the names suggest that only 6 could be Dalits. Do you have any additional information in this regard? Shall be grateful for a response. 

A -  "Canard" is the most appropriate word for this and it is just that.

Having said that the true situation IMHO is that a considerable percentage of merit students struggle with the high pressure system and tough curriculum, especially merit students from JEE Coaching schools, who learn get trained to excel in an JEE based on Multiple choice questions, without having strong fundamentals in maths, physics and chemistry.

If this is the case for even some merit students, imagine how difficult it would be for Dalit Students who get admission through Reservation even though they do not score adequate marks in JEE. These students lack strong fundas and are no match for merit students oozing with brains.

IITs are like boot camps and there is no let up and every one has to keep up or drop out and no one is in a position to assist the weak.

As one would expect the Dalit students fall into a rut and find it difficult to extricate themselves. To blame the failures of Dalit students on Caste discrimination, is false accusations.

Imagine throwing a bunch of kids who do not know how to swim into the deep ocean. They will all struggle and majority will some how survive however there will be a few that drown in the process. Is the Ocean to be blamed for these drownings ?

The mistake here is introducing Reservation into IITs for SC/ST students who don't have to score the marks scored by general category students.

Reservation in IITs is hurting the very students it is supposed to assist. Blame Govt Policies. 

Reservation has done more damage to SC/ST population since independence and we are led to believe it is helping them.

The Government has to look for better options to assist SC / ST Students like giving them scholarships to attend JEE Coaching Schools so these students enter IITs on Merit feeling confident and not through reservations.

Ram Krishnaswamy


By Arita Sarkar, Mumbai Mirror | Jun 12, 2015, 12.25 AM IST

HELPING STUDENTS IN DISTRESS: IIT-B director Devang Khakhar (left) and dean of student affairs, Soumyo Mukherjee

The institute will seek help from renowned psychiatrist Vikram Patel to improve counselling of students, also organise orientation workshop in July for parents.

Two suicides and one attempted suicide within ten months by some of their best and the brightest has prompted Indian Institute of Technology Bombay to take radical steps to help students in distress.

Speaking to this newspaper on Thursday, IITB director Devang Khakhar and dean of student affairs, Soumyo Mukherjee, revealed they have done away with the earlier rule under which students could be referred to a mental health counsellor only through the dean of student affairs. Both men said that given the sensitivities involved, it was imperative to maintain discretion and anonymity of the distressed student.

Learnings from the tragic suicide of their students Ankit Ambhore and Jitesh Sharma has prompted IIT to organize an orientation workshop next month exclusively targeted at parents.

In addition, the institute is planning to call on the expertise of Vikram Patel, psychiatrist and Professor of International Mental Health at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, who was recently named among the 100 most influential people in the world by TIME magazine, and who happens to be Khakhar's brother-in-law.

Following the launch of a Facebook page, I Care, last year IIT Bombay has now also deployed senior students to watch out for signs of depression among its juniors.

Stating that academic pressure is not the only cause for suicidal tendencies, Khakhar said over the past few years students at the undergraduate level have been under a lot of pressure from their family and friends as well. "If the students are not doing very well academically, then they are not going to get the big job in the end which puts pressure especially on students who have built a backlog. From our end we have cut down on the credits so that academic pressure is not that high in terms of workload."

Khakhar who has been IIT director for over six years, says the institute had asked Aniket Ambhore who jumped off the terrace in September last year, and who had a keen interest in music, to take a year off to focus on his other interests. However, apparently his parents had dissuaded him from doing so. "Taking time off is never an issue at IIT Bombay provided there is a valid reason," says Khakhar adding that often students feel the pressure from their family to finish the course within four years and participate in the placements.

Khakhar, who himself enrolled at IIT Delhi as a student in 1976, says suicide on campus was not unheard of even in those days. "It's not as if cases of students committing suicide have started now but it is very difficult to identify students who are on the verge of taking extreme steps (as opposed to) students who are just plain unhappy."

Urging students to not be worried about backlogs he says IIT Bombay, unlike other Indian Universities, does not fail a student. Emphasising the flexibility of the academic curriculum, Khakhar says, "If a student has earned many backlogs, then the student can take five years instead of four to clear the papers. Students should be more worried about the education they get rather than how many years it takes them to finish it."


June 1: A 23-year-old student, pursuing a dual degree in MSc and PhD in earth sciences, tried to kill himself by repeatedly banging his head against a wall in his hostel room. He also slashed his wrists before consuming a poisonous substance.

May 2: Jitesh Sharma, a 21-year-old student of chemical engineering, was found dead on a hostel terrace. Sharma committed suicide by consuming a chemical.

September 4, 2014: Aniket Ambhore, a dual degree student in electrical engineering, fell to his death from the sixth floor of the hostel building. He was also undergoing treatment for depression.

Friday, June 12, 2015

IIT Guwahati student found dead behind hostel, cops say suicide - NYOOOZ

Guwahati, Sept 15: An electronics and communication engineering student of IIT Guwahati, hailing from Haryana, was found dead behind his three-storey hostel building on Sunday, police said. The body of Tushar Yadav (19) was found lying in a pool of blood at around 7.30 am.

Police investigators say that the student committed suicide on Saturday night by jumping from the building rooftop. Police also found a note addressed to his parents which says he was suffering from depression for the past two months. "In the suicide note, the student has apologised to his parents," police said, adding they are waiting for the fingerprints report.

The student was a resident of Gurgaon in Haryana. His father, Narender Singh, rushed here after getting information. Post-mortem examination of the body was conducted at the Gauhati Medical College and Hospital.

This is the second such incident in the IIT-G this year. Shoaib Ahmed, a second semester M.Sc. student from West Bengal, had hanged himself from the ceiling fan of his hostel room in March.IANS ....

Kota: 17-year-old AIPMT aspirant commits suicide due to exam stress - Hindustan Times

  • PTI, Kota, Uttar Pradesh| Updated: Jun 08, 2015 20:41 IST
A 17-year-old All-India Pre-Medical Test (AIPMT) aspirant from Uttar Pradesh allegedly committed suicide because of the pressure of studies, four days after a teenaged girl preparing for the medical entrance examination hanged herself in the city.

According to the local police, the incident was reported in Talwandi locality in the Jhawarnagar area on Sunday morning, after the boy, Sarthak Yadav, was found hanging from a ceiling-fan.

Police said that a suicide note was found in the room in which the deceased wrote that the pressure of his study schedule and of becoming a doctor drove him to commit suicide.

Sub-inspector Suraj Singh at Jhawarnagar police station said that Yadav, a resident of Saharanpur district, had come to Kota a month ago and was enrolled in AIPMT coaching classes at a local institute.

He was staying at his grandfather's residence in Talwandi. The body has been sent for post-mortem, with police adding that Yadav's parents had arrived earlier on Monday.

A case under section 174 of CrPC would be lodged in connection with this, Singh said. These cases have created panic among the parents of students who come from all-parts of the country to Kota for coaching help.

The city is renowned for the plethora of coaching institutes it boasts. According to unofficial figures, over 1.5 lakh students preparing for AIPMT, IIT, JEE and AIEEE are currently enrolled in various coaching classes here.

Prior to this, an 18-year-old female AIPMT aspirant from Jharkhand committed suicide on Thursday by hanging herself in her hostel-room. Although the girl did not leave a suicide note, local police insist she suffered from depression due to the intense pace of her studies.

Monday, June 8, 2015

IIT-Madras Lifts Ban on Ambedkar Periyar Students' Group - NDTV

All India | Press Trust of India | Updated: June 07, 2015 21:15 IST

CHENNAI:  Indian Institute of Technology, Madras (IIT-M) today reinstated recognition of a student group, whose de-recogition had triggered a controversy, and appointed a professor as its faculty advisor, bringing an end to the more than a week-long standoff.

The re-instatement of recognition to Ambedkar Periyar Study Circle (APSC) and appointment of Professor Miland Brahme as Advisor came after a meeting between the Dean of Students and representatives of APSC held today, ending the confrontation that had left the campus in turmoil.

"The Dean of Students reinstated the recognition of APSC as an independent student body, and after consultation with the APSC representatives, recommended Professor Milind Brahme as the Faculty Advisor," an official release from IIT-M said.

"Professor Brahme has consented to advise APSC as required in the guidelines for independent student bodies," it said.

IIT-M found itself at the centre of a controversy after it recently derecognised APSC, many of whose members are Dalits, following a complaint that it was critical of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Union HRD Minster Smriti Irani also came under fire from political parties including the Congress and students' bodies for the action against the APSC.

IIT-M had, however, maintained that "as per the guidelines in force, student bodies cannot use its name or its official entities in any capacity to publicise their activities or garner support without official permission."

With students staging protests demanding withdrawal of the action, IIT-M had last week convened a meeting of the Board of Students.

Noting that the Board of Students met and discussed the issues raised by APSC regarding modifications and suggestions for ensuring uniform guidelines for independent student bodies, the release said, some of the suggestions will be taken up in "due course".

"Some of these will be implemented by the Office of Dean (Students), while the Student Affairs Council, Board of Students, and Senate will take up the modifications in due course for consideration as per established procedure," it said.

APSC and Dean of Students expressed satisfaction that the matter "has been closed", the release said.

Story First Published: June 07, 2015 20:13 IST