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Classmates allege authorities' harassment in Kottayam student Sradha’s suicide

Classmates allege authorities harassment in Kottayam student Sradha’s suicide

Kottayam, Kerala: Three days after a 20-year-old woman in Kottayam, Kerala, committed suicide, the woman's college students staged a protest against the college administration, accusing them of mentally torturing the woman before her death. At the Amal Jyothi College of Engineering in Kanjirappally, Sradha Satheesh, a food technology student, committed suicide on June 2 in the late afternoon. On Monday, May 5, students from her college and district-wide SFI participants marched towards Amal Jyothi to demand justice. Sradha's parents and classmates also claim that the authorities' mental abuse of her led to her death.

“She was fine till Friday afternoon. Then, during the lab hour, they snatched her phone when she took it out to check a notification. She was taken by the teacher to the office of the Head of Department (HOD) and given a scolding. We don’t know what transpired there, but after coming out, she said that she did not want to live anymore. We believe she must have been badly harassed for her to want to take her life,” said Rixana, a third-year student of the college, and a hostel mate of Sradha.

There is also a controversy surrounding Sradha's social media post regarding the college, which is said to have prompted a reprimand and the confiscation of her phone. She apparently participated in an online survey where one of the hypothetical questions asked whether there was anything she would change about her past, and she responded that she would pick another college. According to Raghu Nandanan, a friend of the family who has stood with Satheesh, the father of Sradha, throughout the ordeal, some of the students believe that this may have prompted the authorities to take such severe measures, TNM reported.

Sradha took a bus to the college on June 1 from her home in Thiruvankulam, Tripunithura, where she had spent her holidays. Raghu Nandanan, who had been with Satheesh when the terrifying calls came on Friday evening, recalls that she appeared to be quite content at the time.

“We first got a call from the HOD, Anoop, saying that Sradha’s phone had been taken from her and that she had some back papers. So her father called a roommate but couldn’t get through to Sradha twice. After 8.30 pm, we get another call from the HOD saying that Sradha was unwell and hospitalised. Within half an hour, a manager of the school called to say ‘your daughter is gone’. Even the way they worded it was so insensitive,” Raghu Nandanan said.

The students are also questioning the total silence and lack of sympathy of the college towards handling the case. “Sradha attempted suicide in her hostel room between 7.30 and 8 pm, when her roommates went to eat dinner. They found her at 8 pm and she was immediately taken to the Mary Queens Mission Hospital nearby. However, the warden who accompanied them had at first told the doctors that Sradha had fainted. It was only when they found marks on her neck that the warden revealed she had attempted suicide. Sradha died between 8.30 and 9 pm, but at the hostel, we were only told that she was in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU). At 11.45 pm we came to know about her death from outside sources. It was only the next morning that the college put out a statement about her death,” Rixana said.

The students allege that the authorities tried to cite having back papers as the reason for her death. “The exam results had come out the previous day, but Sradha had seemed fine. It was only on June 2, after she was taken to the HOD’s room, that she took the drastic step,” Rixana added. The students who were protesting claimed that this was not the first time the college had harassed pupils.

The Principal Secretary has been instructed to submit a thorough report regarding Sradha's passing, according to Minister for Higher Education R Bindu. She claimed that the directive was given in response to the accusations made against the college by Sradha's father Satheesh.

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TAGS:#Students suicideKerala
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