Hyderabad: In a tragic incident highlighting the misery caused by delaying the scholarships by the Central government, a student of Delhi's Lady Shri Ram (LSR) College died by suicide as her parents could not afford even a second-hand laptop for her online classes.
The 19-year-old, a second year student of mathematics honours and daughter of a motorcycle mechanic, hanged herself at her residence in Shadnagar town in Rangareddy district of Telangana. The girl's parents said the INSPIRE scholarship of Rs 1.2 lakh by the Ministry of Science and Technology was due in March but it was delayed.
The incident occurred on November 3 but came to light nearly a week later after some student bodies raised their voice and alleged that the state and the Central governments failed to come to the rescue of the girl.
In the suicide note, written in Telugu, she said her education was a burden for the family and since her parents were already in financial crisis, she did not want to burden them further. She also made it clear that no one is responsible for her death.
"If I can't study, I can't live. I have been thinking this for many days. I feel that ending the life is the correct decision. Please ensure that the INSPIRE scholarship is at least given for a year," read the note.
"I request all to forgive me. I am not a good daughter," she added.
Srinivas Reddy and Sumati alleged that the college's order to vacate the hostel during the pandemic drove their daughter to take the drastic step.
"She knew we were struggling to arrange money for her higher studies. As we were finding it difficult to repay the loans taken earlier, she did not seek more money for a laptop," said Srinivas Reddy.
A bright student from her childhood, she scored good marks in Class X and Intermediate (plus two) exams.
One of her teachers persuaded her parents to send her to a leading college in Delhi so that she could pursue her dream of becoming an IAS officer.
With the help extended by some people in the town, she secured admission in LSR College in Bachelor of Science and Mathematics.
Her parents mortgaged their house for Rs 2 lakh and secured loans worth Rs 1 lakh from women self-help groups for her education.
However, the family landed into financial distress after the outbreak of Covid-19 and the subsequent lockdown.
They also discontinued education of their younger daughter to support higher studies of the elder one.
The LSR student came home due to the lockdown in March. However, in June when other students started returning, she could not go due to the family's financial problems. The college had also asked her to vacate the hostel.
As the INSPIRE scholarship was delayed, the family was not in a position to bear the expenditure for her accommodation at any other place and even to arrange laptop for the online classes.
Her father also suffered from jaundice and the family had to bear additional expenses. It was difficult for them to meet both ends and the family conditions pushed her into depression.
According to her parents, she had also conveyed to college authorities that she couldn't complete her practical paper as her mobile phone was not working properly and she had no laptop.
The police registered a case of suicide and took up investigations.
Meanwhile, the Students Federation of India (SFI) blamed the central government's negligence for the girl's suicide. It said the delayed in releasing the scholarship pushed her to take the extreme step.
The All India Democratic Women's Association, Delhi Sate Committee, has also condemned what it called the institutional murder of an LSR student.
It demanded justice for the student and her family. The organisation said all the pending scholarship amount must be disbursed to her family at once, with adequate additional compensation from the government.
The Central government has not been disbursing fellowships and scholarships for eligible students for last four or five months.