Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam President MK Stalin on Thursday demanded a “fair, transparent and independent probe” into the alleged suicide of a student at the Indian Institute of Technology, Madras, NDTV reported.
Fathima Latheef, a student of Humanities and Development Studies from Kollam town in Kerala, was found hanging from the ceiling fan of her hostel room on November 9. While no suicide note was found, a note on her mobile phone blamed some faculty members.
Stalin, reacting to the incident, said the investigation into the student’s death should be time-bound. He also advocated avoiding “saffronisation” of education. “Do everything required to treat all as equals like the national flag’s tricolour,” the DMK chief added.
Manithaneya Makkal Katchi leader MH Jawahirullah on Wednesday demanded an investigation by the Crime Branch Criminal Investigation Department into Latheef’s death, IANS reported. Jawahirullah said in Chennai that he had spoken to Abdul Latheef, the student’s father, who alleged that his daughter’s alleged suicide was the result of religious discrimination by a member of the IIT-Madras faculty.
Fatima Latheef’s father told Jawahirullah that the professor in question had once given her three marks less in a test paper. This was corrected after it was brought to the notice of the head of the department.
Abdul Latheef has given a memorandum to Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, demanding government intervention in the investigation.
The Chennai Police on Thursday transferred the case to the Central Crime Branch, ANI reported. Chennai Police Commissioner AK Viswanathan said that a team headed by the additional commissioner and including other senior officers would be formed to look into the suicide.
Protests outside the institute
Fathima Lateef’s alleged suicide is the fifth such incident in IIT-Madras over the last year. Meanwhile, workers of the Congress youth wing protested outside the university demanding justice for the deceased student, media reports said.
On Wednesday evening, Campus Front of India, a student organisation of the Popular Front of India, based in Kerala, also protested outside IIT-Madras, The News Minute reported on Thursday. The protesting group ended their demonstrations on reaching the gates of the institute.
Umakant Dash, professor and head of the Department of Humanities and Social Sciences at IIT-Madras, told The News Minute: “We are cooperating with the police investigations and the police have not discussed about any suicide note. We only get to know information based on what the police are telling us.” He said that regular classes are being held at the institute, except for first-year students, who have asked for postponement of their semester examinations.