Thursday, September 11, 2014

256 - IIT-B student killed self: Cops - TNN

TNN | Sep 9, 2014, 11.03PM IST

Mumbai: A police probe into the death of IIT-B student, Aniket Ambhore, 22, has revealed that he had committed suicide. Ambhore, who was depressed, fell from the sixth floor balcony of a hostel on the campus last Thursday. 

"With no contradictory theory before us, it seems Ambhore committed suicide," said deputy commissioner of police Prashant Holkar (zone X). "We have recorded statements of Ambhore's roommate and a student who was standing in the opposite building and saw him fall. The roommate stated that Ambhore had spoken to his parents over the telephone before going off to sleep in his room. A few hours later, the roommate had left for the canteen." 

While the police have not established the motive for Ambhore's drastic step, they believe his backlogs in subjects, along with depression, may have pushed him over the edge. Ambhore had several backlogs in the first and second years of his dual degree programme. He had returned to the campus after a 10-day break on Thursday. The Powai police, who have been conducting a detailed probe, also recorded his parents' statements. 

IIT has a student-mentorship programme in place and counselors regularly visit hostels to interact with students. Students are mentored and monitored closely by faculty members during the academic rehabilitation programme, said the official. Ambhore was also put on the programme.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

255 - IITian’s fall to death an accident? - Asian Age

Sep 06, 2014 | Age Correspondent | Mumbai

Students on the campus of the Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay (IIT-B) are shocked at the death of fourth-year student Aniket Ambhore, who according to the police and eye witness statements slipped and died after falling from the sixth floor of a hostel on the campus on Thursday. On Friday, while the campus was abuzz with rumours that Ambhore might have committed suicide as his grades had been falling and he was in depression, the institute maintains that it was an accident and are awaiting the police investigation report.

According to some students, though Ambhore fell and died at around 5.45 pm, news of the same started spreading on the campus only after the police came to the spot at around 6.30 pm. “As the area was cordoned off, there was some confusion as to who the student was and the name became clear only after some students who saw him fall identified him. They were the ones who alerted the campus security who alerted the police,” said a student, requesting anonymity.

“He was a vocalist and guitarist and was active on Facebook. He had posted a positive note on Facebook on how changing art forms around us could change the way people eat, thus leading to a cure for cancer and cough,” said another student. He added that apparently Ambhore did not have suicidal tendencies as he did not leave any note behind, thus negating the speculation about him committing suicide.

The institute confirmed that as it was raining heavily on Thursday and the floor on the sixth floor balcony was wet, Ambhore might have slipped while talking on the phone. “The eyewitness account taken down by the police confirms that Ambhore was talking on the phone and not preparing to jump, thus ruling out the suicide angle. However, we do not want to influence the police investigation in any way and will await their report,” said Rashmi Sablani, PRO of IIT-B.

Meanwhile, the Teachers’ Day celebration on the campus were also muted and Prof. Devang Khakkar, Director, IIT-B read out a condolence message during the programme. He only announced the names of the teachers who would be felicitated. The felicitation would take place on some other day.

254 - IIT-B students complain of stress, inadequate support - DNA

Saturday, 6 September 2014 - 7:05am IST | Agency: DNA

The death of 22-year-old Aniket Ambhore at the Indian Institute of Technology – Bombay is not the first such case. There have been at least two other incidents in the past 19 months that have sparked concerns.

What were the earlier incidents?
In February last year, Ankur Abhishek, a fourth year dual-degree electrical engineering student, drowned in Vihar lake. In January this year, M Siva Theja, a PhD student hailing from Hyderabad went missing. His body was found, the head covered with plastic, at a lodge in Visakhapatnam.

students believe that all these cases are suicides and they insist that the institute is trying to brush them under the carpet.

On Friday, activities on the campus appeared to be normal, except that the Teachers' Day programme was cancelled.

Is there too much academic pressure?
The students suggest that academic pressure together with inadequate support mechanism is leading to mental pressure that they are not able to deal with.

"Academic vigour is so much that sometimes even the most brilliant brains feel lost, especially those who haven't got the course of their choice. We're supposed to clear six subjects every semester. If you have a backlog, the pressure goes out of the roof," said a final year B-Tech student.

Urjit Yajnik, dean of students affairs, says there's academic stress in schools too, but there are counsellors to help students at IIT-B. Students argue this is not sufficient.

"This cannot be addressed by any counsellor. Merely sending students for the academic rehabilitation programme is not enough. What about the threat of losing a year," asked a general secretary of a hostel.

Do teachers fail students deliberately?
Students also allege that some teachers fail students deliberately over petty issues. "I was failed as I submitted my project 10 minutes late. I had to appear for the course all over again in the next semester. I am not allowed to question the autonomy of the teacher," rued a final year student of metallurgical engineering.

Teachers are said to be so strict that they mark students absent even if they are just 10 minutes late to class, despite the fact that this may be due to an earlier lecture being delayed.
Prof Yajnik denies the charges. "You are taking things to another dimension. I wouldn't like to comment on that." he said.

Why no discussion with the students?
"I've been studying here for the past five years and have seen so many cases of deaths. But there has never been any official word from the institute. Whatever we got to know was through the media. It's as if the authorities don't care when a student dies," said another M-Tech student.

Why the silence over Aniket's death?
On Friday afternoon the IIT-B public relations officer (PRO) sent out an e-mail to the media stating that the Teachers' Day event had been cancelled "due to some internal reasons".

The death of the fourth year student on Thursday was not even acknowledged by the administration, perhaps a confirmation of the indifference of the Country's premier technical institute to the problems of students. "This wasn't good news and so mentioning it was not required," the PRO said.

253 -Cops believe IIT-B student may have committed suicide - TNN

Yogita Rao & Vijay V Singh,TNN | Sep 6, 2014, 11.06 PM IST

MUMBAI: Investigators, based on circumstantial evidence, are veering towards the view that the death of a student at IIT-B on Thursday may be a case of suicide. However, police said a final conclusion on Aniket Ambhore's death will be drawn only after recording the statement of his friends, classmates and others. IIT-B officials will probe allegations made by Aniket's father Sanjay, that his son was taunted over getting into the institute through the SC/ST quota.

Aniket, a fourth-year electrical engineering student at the institute, died after a fall from a sixth-floor balcony of a hostel on the campus on Thursday evening. Police believe Aniket may have committed suicide and said he last spoke to his father before the incident. Aniket was suffering from depression and was advised five to six hours' rest during daytime. A senior officer said, "He spoke to his parents before the incident, saying he was going to sleep. His parents then spoke to his friend who told them that Aniket was sleeping in his room. The incident took place after the friend left for the canteen." Aniket was seen talking on his mobile on a balcony on Thursday evening when a student saw him falling.

IIT-B officials said allegations of Aniket being taunted were being seriously probed. "The institute takes utmost care of students and several programmes are introduced at institute level from time to time to ensure students perform better in academics," said an IIT-B official. "At IIT-B, the support system and mentoring/counselling offered to students is for all irrespective of their caste, creed, religion/gender and background. IIT-B is an egalitarian institution, where there is no room for discrimination," said the official.

The institute has a student-mentorship programme in place and counsellors also regularly visit hostels to interact with students. During the course of the academic rehabilitation programme (ARP), the students are mentored and monitored closely by faculty members, said the official. Aniket was also put on ARP.

However, a recent survey done by the students' media body for their in-house magazine, InSight, revealed that 56% of quota students in the first year felt discrimination existed in the institute, but in a discreet manner. Of all first-year students, 69% felt discrimination on the basis of caste does not exist at all, while 28% felt discrimination exists in an indirect manner. Around 3% students surveyed also claimed that they witnessed discrimination.

"The main divide does not seem to be due to any sort of negative sentiment, but due to the sphere of academics," stated the article. The average cumulative performance index of general, OBC and SC/ST students is 8.09, 6.6 and 5.59 respectively. Around 70% of reserved category students said they experience more academic pressure than open category students, as they feel they lag behind in academics. They also claimed it was a demoralising factor.

Aniket too had several backlogs in the first and second years of his dual-degree programme. His father told TOI that he was undergoing treatment for depression and had returned to the campus after a 10-day break on Thursday. His father also said that he was taunted on campus.

A student close to Aniket, however, said there was no discrimination against him by his peers, friends or colleagues of any sort. "In fact, he was one of the popular students in the batch for his singing and song-writing skills," said the student.

Senior psychiatrist Harish Shetty said parents should share information of depression, if any, with institute counsellors and work as a team. "In such cases, a psychological autopsy is a must to determine what happened. Student mentors at the institute should be trained as bare-foot counsellors to pick up signs of depression," he said.

252 - Caste discrimination in India's elite institutions: Students - DNA

Sunday, 7 September 2014 - 6:30am IST | Agency: DNA

The death of Aniket Ambhore, fourth year electrical engineering student at Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay on Thursday under mysterious circumstances (he fell from the sixth floor of a hostel inside the campus), has brought to the fore certain unsavoury issues which the administration in the premier institution seeks to brush under the carpet.
Caste-based discrimination is one among them.

Aniket was reportedly under tremendous stress; was inclined towards spirituality, and was undergoing psychiatric treatment following poor performance in exams. He had backlogs from the first, second and third year.

Aniket's father has alleged his son used to be taunted for being a student from scheduled caste. A head of dept once passed a derogatory comment about him, said his father. The family didn't make any formal complaint though.

The administration denies the charge. SC, ST and OBC students however allege that there is discrimination at this elite institution. SC, ST and OBCs students have quota of 15%, 7.5% and 27% seats, respectively.

A survey among first year students (2013-14 batch) belonging to various SC, ST and OBC categories, has revealed that an alarming 56% of them feel discriminated against in the institution, albeit in a discreet manner.

Nearly 60% of those in the reserved category also said they experienced more academic pressure than those in the general category.

"However, this is not because of any negative sentiments, but due to the nature of the syllabus. This is a demoralising factor and it hits them hard when they get their results," says the survey conducted by Insight, IITB students media body.

This was the first such survey conducted on issue of biases and discrimination on the campus.

The main difference between students in general and other categories, according to the survey, is in academic performance. As per statistics, the average cumulative performance index of general category, OBC and SC/ST students is 8.09, 6.6 and 5.9, respectively.

A professor admits: "Many quota candidates struggle in studies. Placement is also difficult for them because of the poor scores."

Deep-rooted prejudice
Students, however, claimed some members of the faculty harboured deep-rooted prejudices against quota students and award them very poor grades in exams despite performing well.

"Some general category students also pass remarks saying quota students grab seats in coveted courses while they get admission in not-so-popular courses despite having scored better marks," said a student.

IIT PRO Rashmi Udaykumar said: "The institute does't discriminate against students on the basis of their caste or religion." She also said Aniket's father had not made any complaint in this regard.

Cases of discrimination have also been reported from other IITs, IISc and AIIMS. In 2008, IIT Delhi was in the news for terminating 12 Dalit students citing "poor academic performance", which led to allegations of caste-based discrimination.

"At least 20 Dalit students from these institutions have committed suicide in the past seven years," said a PhD student in IIT Delhi.

Roommate wants to change room
Aniket's room mate, Sushant Kumar, an M Sc student, who shared room number 177 in hostel number 1 with him, has requested that he be allotted another room. General secretary of the hostel Ratikant, said: "We understand his emotional stress and are trying to shift him to another room.

251 - 'IIT-Bombay student who fell from 6th flr was struggling with failing grades' - Mid Day

By Shreya Bhandary |Posted 06-Sep-2014

While revealing that the deceased student was not doing well in academics, IIT-Bombay officials said he had not seemed depressed and had likely fallen in a ‘freak accident’

A day after a student was found dead at the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT)-Bombay after allegedly slipping and falling off the sixth floor of a hostel building, the administration revealed that he had not been faring well in academics, and was quite unhappy about it.

Aniket Ambhore fell from the sixth-floor balcony at hostel building number 13. While the police is yet to ascertain the cause of death, senior officials mentioned that the deceased fourth-year dual degree student of electrical engineering had already failed a year, and even remedial classes had not helped his grades. - 

Aniket Ambhore

“At IIT, we follow a system wherein if a student fails in too many papers over a period of time, then he or she is given another chance in the form of the Academic Rehabilitation Programme (ARP). Aniket Ambhore had been part of this programme for the past year and a half, and his scores had not improved,” said U Yajnik, dean of student affairs, IIT-B.

Yajnik added that while the Powai police are still waiting for the post-mortem reports, the college authorities doubt it was a case of suicide. “This student was part of a band, and his friends mentioned in their statements that he never seemed depressed. Even his parents were shocked. He regularly lived with his family, so there’s no reason for any disconnect between him and his family. We, therefore, believe this was a freak accident, and not suicide,” he said.

While entry to the hostel, where the incident took place, was restricted on Friday, some students mentioned, on condition of anonymity, that the sixth floor of the hostel building number 13 — from where Ambhore allegedly fell — has a high railing and is an improbable place to fall from.

After the fall, he was rushed to the in-house hospital within the campus, where he was declared dead on arrival. His body was sent to Rajawadi Hospital for post-mortem on the same day. On Friday morning, his body  was handed over to his family, and the funeral was held in the afternoon.

The police, meanwhile, have said that they have registered a case of accidental death, and are not ruling out either suicide or foul play. An eyewitness had seen Ambhore talking on the phone on the sixth-floor balcony before he fell, and the police are now going through his call records.

Family in shock
Ambhore usually lived with his family, and on the day of the accident, too, he had spent the day with his family, and even spoke to them after returning to the hostel. His father, Sanjay Ambhore said, “His room was in hostel building 1, so I don’t know what he was doing on the sixth floor of another building.

In the past few weeks, he was a little unhappy with his studies, so I had asked him to drop a semester and relax. He agreed with me and cut the call, and a few minutes later, the institute authorities informed me about the accident.”

Following the incident, the administration toned down their Teachers’ Day celebrations and a condolence speech was delivered by the dean. “We also followed this with a two-minute silence in memory of Aniket. We are all still coming to terms with the incident,” said Rashmi Uday Kumar, public relations officer for IIT-Bombay.

- See more at:

250 - Day after student’s death, IIT B to inspect balconies, terraces - Hindustan Times

HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times  
Mumbai, September 05, 2014

A day after a student of Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay (IIT B) died after falling from the sixth floor of a hostel balcony, authorities of the institute are planning to inspect balconies and terraces of hostels and buildings in the institute premises, to check if any are in need of repair.

An official from the institute said that the parapets become slippery, especially in the rains, making them dangerous. “While there is no clarity over whether his death was caused by slipping or something else, an inspection is on the cards,” he said.

Aniket Ambhore, a dual-degree electrical engineering student, was talking on the phone in hostel 13 on Thursday evening, when he fell. He was declared dead on arrival at Rajawadi Hospital in Ghatkopar.

According to an IIT Bombay spokesperson, Ambhore was speaking to his father when he fell. “Aniket’s father told us that he was on the phone with him, when suddenly he stopped talking, after which the call got disconnected,” said Rashmi Sablania, IIT spokesperson. Ambhore’s father, however, declined to elaborate on the matter.

The police are investigating the possibility of foul play. A student who lives in the same hostel building said it was unlikely anyone could slip from the balcony. “The sixth floor balcony has a high parapet and there are no gaps. It is highly unlikely that he slipped,” said the student.

Ambhore’s friends refused to believe that the death was a case of suicide. “Aniket is the last person to even think of suicide. He was a happy person and had great ambitions. We are shocked,” said Ashrit Tandon, a student and Aniket’s friend.

The Teacher’s Day celebrations scheduled at IIT B were cancelled on Friday, and instead, a condolence speech was delivered by Devang Khakar, the director.

Police investigations have remained inconclusive so far. “We are looking for eye-witnesses in the case. His call data records will also be checked to ascertain if he was talking on the phone, when the incident occurred. We have registered the matter as an accidental death, as of now,” said Yadavrao Jadhav, senior police inspector, Powai police station.

249 - Probe into IIT-Bombay student’s death after fall, family says he was depressed - TNN

George Mendonca, Yogita Rao & Nitasha Natu, TNN | Sep 6, 2014, 12.58AM IST

MUMBAI: The family of Aniket Ambhore, 22, an IIT-Bombay student who died after a fall from a sixth-floor balcony of a hostel on the campus on Thursday, said he was undergoing treatment for depression.

Another student in Hostel 13 saw Aniket, a fourth year student doing dual degree in electrical engineering, talking on his cell phone under an umbrella on a balcony on Thursday evening. He later saw him falling and informed others, but did not see how Aniket fell, said the institute.

"Aniket was suffering from depression probably due to the backlog in subjects from his first and second years. Due to his condition, he was unable to sleep properly at night in the hostel. We had consulted a doctor who had advised him rest for 5-6 hours during daytime," said Aniket's father Sanjay after his son's final rites at Airoli in Navi Mumbai on Friday.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

248 - IIT-B student dies after fall from hostel’s sixth floor

IIT-B student dies after fall from hostel’s sixth floor

Mumbai Mirror | Sep 5, 2014, 01.16 AM IST

Arita Sarkar and Vikrant Dadawala

Institute says he slipped while speaking on phone. Cops haven't ruled out suicide or foul play yet.

A 22-year-old Indian Institute of Technology-Bombay student was found dead on Thursday after falling from the sixth floor of one of the hostels on campus. 

A student who saw fourth year dualdegree student Aniket Ambhore fall alerted his classmates and the hostel warden, who rushed him to Ghatkopar's Rajawadi Hospital, where he was declared dead on arrival. 

While the IIT administration said Ambhore slipped and fell, occupants of the 7-floor Hostel 13 who spoke to Mirror said the floor did not have any openings and the parapet, too, was quite high. 

However, some students from Hostel 13 said cellular network was bad in the building and that it is not uncommon for students to lean out of the balcony while on their cell phones. 

An electrical engineering student specialising in communication and signal processing, Ambhore lived in Hostel 1, which students said is far from where he was found. 

Rashmi Sablani, IIT's public relations officer, said, "We spoke to an eyewitness who confirmed Ambhore was talking on the phone in a sixth-floor balcony and slipped." 

While the official line is the death was a result of an accident, the police said they are not ruling out either suicide or foul play at the moment. 

Senior Inspector YL Jadhav said: "We have registered a case of accidental death. But we are investigating whether it is a suicide or an accident or if there was foul play." 

Ambhore's friends told Mirror that it was unlikely that he would kill himself. "It is not like Ambhore to even think of suicide," said a close friend, requesting anonymity. "He was good at what he did. He was part of a rock band and came from a happy family. I really do not know what to make of the incident." 

Ambhore, a resident of Airoli, Navi Mumbai, completed SSC at DAV Public School, Airoli, and subsequently finished his higher secondary certificate from MH Junior College in Thane before joining IIT. His mother Sunita is a lecturer in a Navi Mumbai college while his father is a manager in a public sector bank. He has a younger sister.

Friday, August 22, 2014

247 - Value education to de-stress IIT-Kharagpur undergraduates - TNN

TNN | Aug 20, 2014, 12.04AM IST

KOLKATA: From the new academic session, that has just taken off, value education is making an entry into the curriculum of undergraduate students of IIT-Kharagpur.

An all new Vivekananda Center of Excellence is starting at IIT-Kharagpur, funded completely by the Centre, to help students balance the extreme stress conditions that they have to weather for five years of their undergrad programme. Yoga, meditation, simple calming techniques, year-long inspirational workshops and lectures about balanced leadership will form the backbone of the value education content at the Center.

While the institute is in the process of designing the curriculum, the underlying refrain is to find out an effective way of dealing with depression and suicidal tendencies that have been haunting the oldest and biggest IIT campus in the chain for the past six years.

Over this period, 25 students have committed suicide in this institute for not being able to live up to their mirror image that consists of a complex medley of grade points, placements, intense workload and a complete emotional disconnect with their immediate environment. Professors have no choice but to give attention to the top 10-15% brilliant boys and girls who ask the most questions out of their own urge to excel. The next 55%, somehow, manage to keep their grades, while the bottom 30% continue to slip till they either start failing their grades or drop out. At one point, the institute had the ideal ratio of one teacher per 10 students, which has fallen to 25 students now, thanks to the 400 vacant teaching posts that the institute hasn't been able to fill up in the last one decade. At the moment, at least 300 students are being counselled in the institute's counselling centre but that is not enough and hence the Vivekananda Center.

"The idea is not to churn out just first-class engineers. That in any case we are being able to do. In the midst of this competition, several students lose their basic human qualities. Once that happens, stress and depression get an easy walkover. We hope that the new centre will help the students overcome this crisis," said IIT-Kgp director P P Chakraborty.

It's coming up at the centre of a natural lake inside the campus, opposite the gymkhana. The Union ministry of human resources development has granted Rs 15 crore to IIT-Kgp for the centre.