The Indian Institute of Technology, Madras, on Friday said the attacks it has faced on social media since the death of a woman student on campus last week was demoralising its students and faculty, The Hindu reported. The statement came amid anger and protests demanding a fair investigation into the alleged suicide of Fathima Lateef – the fifth such incident in IIT-Madras over the last year.
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.
IIT-Madras said it was “deeply saddened and extremely perturbed” by Latheef’s death and the events that have unfolded. “However, the social media trolling of the institute, faculty members and students and trial by the media, even before the conclusion of the police investigation, is gravely demoralising the students, faculty members and staff as well as their families, and tarnishing the reputation of one of the finest Institutes in the country,” the statement said. “Our faculty is known for its high quality, integrity and fairness.”
“As soon as the incident came to the knowledge of IIT-M authorities, the police was informed immediately and are being extended full cooperation by the Institute,” the statement said. “IIT Madras is committed to do whatever is required as per law and ensure fair-play.”
“We continue to mourn the loss of such a promising young student and continue to take all efforts to ensure the physical and mental well-being of our students, faculty and staff,” the institute added. “We reiterate that we are fully cooperating with the police investigation. Our humble appeal to all concerned is not to initiate or spread any rumours about the Institute and those involved and let the enquiry be completed.”
Abdul Latheef gave a memorandum to Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, demanding government intervention in the investigation. He was expected to meet Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edappadi Palanisamy on Friday. The Chennai Police on Thursday transferred the case to the Central Crime Branch. Chennai Police Commissioner AK Viswanathan had said that a team headed by the additional commissioner and including other senior officers would be formed to look into the suicide.