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Thursday, June 16, 2011

115 - 17th May 2011 - Dalit students committing suicide in last 4 years in premier institutions

The Milli Gazette
Published Online: May 17, 2011
Print Issue: 16-31 May 2011
 
Here is a list of Dalit students who committed suicide during the last four years in some premier institutions. This is by no means an exhaustive list as it only covers cases which could be documented and where parents and relatives raised their voices and  accused the institutions of caste discrimination against their children that led to their suicides:
 
1. M. Shrikant, final year, B.Tech, IIT Bombay, 1st Jan 07
2. Ajay S. Chandra, integrated PhD, Indian Institute of Sciences (IISc), Bangalore - 26 Aug, 07
3. Jaspreet Singh, final year MBBS, Government Medical College, Chandigarh, 27 Jan 08.
4. Senthil Kumar, PHD, School of Physics, University of Hyderabad - 23 Feb 08
5. Prashant Kureel, first year, B.Tech, IIT Kanpur, 19 April, 08
6. G. Suman, final year, M.Tech, IIT Kanpur, 2nd Jan, 09
7. Ankita Veghda, first year, BSc Nursing, Singhi Institute of Nursing, Ahmedabad, 20 April, 09
8. D Syam Kumar, first year B.Tech, Sarojini Institute of Engineering and Technology, Vijayawada, 13 Aug, 09
9. S. Amravathi, national level young woman boxer, Centre of Excellence, Sports Authority of Andhra Pradesh,Hyderabad, 4th Nov, 09
10. Bandi Anusha, B.Com final year, Villa Mary College, Hyderabad, 5th Nov, 09
11. Pushpanjali Poorty, first year, MBA, Visvesvaraiah Technological University, Bangalore, 30th Jan, 10
12. Sushil Kumar Chaudhary, final year MBBS, Chattrapati Shahuji Maharaj Medical University (formerly KGMC), Lucknow, 31 Jan, 10.
13. Balmukund Bharti, final year MBBS, All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), New Delhi, 3rd March, 10
14. JK Ramesh, second year, BSc, University of Agricultural Sciences, Bangalore, 1st July, 10
15. Madhuri Sale, final year B.Tech, IIT Kanpur, 17th November, 10
16. G. Varalakshmi, B.Tech first year, Vignan Engineering College, Hyderabad, 30 Jan, 2011
17. Manish Kumar, IIIrd Year B.Tech, IIT Roorkee, 13 Feb, 11
18. Linesh Mohan Gawle, PhD, National Institute of Immunology, New Delhi, 16 April, 11

A large number of Dalit and Adivasi students committing suicide clearly indicates the wide-spread prevalence of caste discrimination in the Indian education system, which perceives them as 'non-meritorious', not fit to belong there. When a student from the lowest strata of society fights against all odds to prove his/her merit and reach the best educational institutions in India, are those institutions proving themselves meritorious enough to recognize their worth and to accommodate them, let alone nurture their aspirations?

Our communities cannot afford to lose our bright, young hopes like Linesh and Balmukund, in the hands of an insensitive and casteist educational system.

A documentary “The Death of Merit” documents the horors of caste-discrimination that is prevalent in AIIMS, New Delhi that resulted in the suicide of a very bright Dalit student Balmukund Bharti who came  from a very humble background. (Watch the documentary at

http://thedeathofmeritinindia.wordpress.com/2011/04/24/%e2%80%98the-death-of-merit%e2%80%99-a-documentary/)
For more information, contact  Arun Khote ofDalits Media Watch at arun.khote@gmail.com


Caste Discrimination in IIT Delhi
The dismal representation of SC/ST students in IITs demands some serious questioning from all who believe in equal opportunities and social justice. There are various instances that indicate towards the prevalence of caste-based harassment of Dalit students. Recently IIT Delhi was in news due to the termination of 12 Dalit students together with allegations of prevalence of caste-based discrimination. In the wake of this incident, an attempt was made to map the experiences of Dalit students within IIT Delhi structure.

On May 2008, 12 Dalit students (11SC & 1ST) were terminated by the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Delhi, citing their 'low academic performance'. Eleven of these students were from the first two years of their undergraduate courses.
After receiving the termination letter, some of these students filed a petition in the National Commission for the Scheduled Castes (NCSC), alleging caste-based harassment in IIT Delhi and demanded annulment of their terminations.

According to the students, many IIT Delhi faculty members harbour deep prejudices against students admitted through reservations and they receive very poor grading despite performing well in the exams. The NCSC immediately summoned the Director of IIT Delhi, and asked him to investigate these allegations and also to review the terminations.

Later, in July first week, the IIT administration submitted a one-page report to the NCSC stating that, it has decided to revoke the expulsion of 2 Dalit students by giving some relaxations in their grade requirements. It also informed the NCSC, about the IIT review committee, constituted in response to the summon issued by the NCSC, to inquire about the prevalence of caste based discrimination. The report further stated that 'no case of caste discrimination was brought out by the students in their meeting with the Review Committee'.

The last paragraph of the report reiterated that, "IIT Delhi is very sensitive to the special needs of SC/ST students and faculty members spare no efforts in helping them, and indeed all weak students, to come up to our higher academic standards".
To read this report, please visit: http://thedeathofmeritinindia.wordpress.com/2011/05/01/caste-discrimination-in-iit-delhi-a-report/  or mail Peoples Media Advocacy & Resource Centre at pmarc2008@gmail.com