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Friday, June 3, 2011

26 - 30th April 2007 - 'My list didn't lead to IIT suicide' - Express India

My list didn't lead to IIT suicide'
Rao Jaswant Singh
Posted: Apr 30, 2007 at 0833 hrs IS

Three days after the IIT-Kanpur campus was rocked by a third-year engineering student’s suicide, among the likely reasons for J Bharadwaja’s suicide, offered by a section of students, is a “harsh e-mail” sent by a faculty member.
The e-mail contained a list of students likely to get F-grade — or fail — in the ongoing semester, and was sent by V K Gupta, a faculty and course instructor in the Civil Engineering department. The e-mail, sent to all students, listed roll numbers of those likely to get an F-grade.

With speculations about the reason behind the suicide rife both within and outside the campus, faculty member V K Gupta for the first time discussed the issue with The Indian Express and said the e-mail had no connection with Bharadwaja’s suicide.

Gupta said he had no intention of hurting students’ feelings. "The list of students was sent only to rouse those who were not taking studies seriously," he told The Indian Express. "It was meant to make them realise that they needed to perform to their potential."

He clarified that the list was released back on April 3, so that students could take "corrective action" to fare better in the examination on April 25 (Wednesday).

Bharadwaja committed suicide on the night of April 25 after taking the examination that day.

Gupta said a copy of the list was also sent to Gautam Dev, chairman, IIT-K counseling service, so that students who needed help could get prior attention.

Countering claims of some students that the list could have led to the suicide, Gupta said he had released similar lists on earlier occasions, too. The idea, he stressed, was to encourage students to attend classes. He said the practice has helped many students in improving their performances. “I have always encouraged students to work hard and perform to their potential.”

Gupta read out the e-mail he sent out on April 22: “I wish you all the best for a scintillating performance on 25th morning. Please try your best and keep in mind that there are no short cuts to success. I want all of you to pass the course with flying colours.

“Feel free to get in touch with me, should you need to clear any doubts.”

He said he had even announced some relaxations for students who fared poorly on attendance, “provided they made it up on end-semester examination”.

“I see no reason why my list of April 3 should be held culprit for the unfortunate incident,” he said.