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IIT Suicides: MGAHV Students Plea to President for ‘Rohith Vemula Act’

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Last Updated: February 16, 2023, 11:33 IST

Two suicides were reported this week at IIT-Bombay and IIT-Madras (Representative Image)

Two suicides were reported this week at IIT-Bombay and IIT-Madras (Representative Image)

The student-members of the All India Students Federation-MGAHV Unit, shaken by the two tragic deaths in three days, have submitted a memorandum addressed to President Droupadi Murmu through the varsity’s Registrar

Students of the Mahatma Gandhi Antarrashtriya Hindi Vishwavidyalaya (MGAV) here have urged the Centre to enact a ‘Rohith Vemula Act’ to protect scholars hailing from marginalised communities and prevent campus suicides like the two reported this week at IIT-Bombay and IIT-Madras, on Wednesday.

The student-members of the All India Students Federation-MGAHV Unit, shaken by the two tragic deaths in three days, have submitted a memorandum addressed to President Droupadi Murmu through the varsity’s Registrar.

A delegation comprising AISF President Chandan Saroj, Secretary Jatin Chaudhary and other office-bearers Niranjan Kumar, Atul Singh, Vishal Kumar, Gautam Prakash and more met the MGAHV Registrar and requested him to forward their memorandum to the Rashtrapati Bhavan.

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“Since 2016, students’ bodies all over India have been urging the government to enact a stringent ‘Rohith Vemula Act’, on the lines of the Nirbhaya Act, that can secure students from deprived communities living and studying on campuses in the country,” said Saroj.

Rohith Vemula, a PhD scholar belonging to the OBC, had committed suicide at the University of Hyderabad in January 2017, ostensibly due to caste discrimination and harassment, sparking nationwide protests on academic campuses, said Chaudhary.

The AISF-MGAHV memorandum to the President cites the two latest incidents – the suicide of an Ahmedabad student Darshan R. Solanki, 18, in IIT-B on February 12, and the hanging of a Navi Mumbai student Stephen S. Alappat, 24, in IIT-M on February 14, besides the attempted suicide of another student at the IIT-M, now under treatment in a Chennai.

It has also cited reports pointing at the alleged caste bias and harassment the two students faced, causing them immense mental agony, leading them to take the ultimate step.

Chaudhary and Saroj said that such cases of students’ suicides are increasing in prominent educational institutions of national importance, which is matter of concern and not a pleasant sign in a democracy.

Keeping this in mind, they urged the President that the ‘Rohith Vemula Act’ should be enacted to curb such tragedies and avoid exploitation of students from backward communities on campuses and the academic world at all levels.

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(This story has not been edited by News18 staff and is published from a syndicated news agency feed)

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