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Tuesday, May 5, 2015

327 - ‘Depressed’ over poor grades, IIT Bombay student kills self - TNN

Vinamrata Borwankar, TNN | May 4, 2015, 03.18AM IST

MUMBAI: A 21-year-old student of the Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay (IIT-B) was found dead on a hostel terrace on Saturday evening. Jitesh Sharma, a third-year chemical engineering student was believed to be depressed due to academic stress. He also left a note, the police said.

IIT officials said the body was found on the terrace of hostel 15 though he was a resident of hostel 8. "A student, who was taking a walk on the terrace, spotted him on the terrace and informed the security. There was froth coming out of his mouth and cold drink bottles were lying near him. He was rushed to the IIT-Bombay hospital where he was declared dead on arrival. We have counselled his friends and the student who found the body. His friend said he appeared normal on Saturday morning," said an IIT spokesperson.

Preliminary police investigation revealed that Sharma, who hails from Rohtak in Haryana, had consumed a poisonous substance from the institute laboratory. "Since he was a chemical engineering student he used a sodium-based poisonous chemical from his lab. The post-mortem report is awaited. His parents were aware about his condition," said DCP Vinayak Deshmukh. The police have registered a case of accidental death.

Sharma usually kept to himself and didn't interact much. "The suicide note stated that he regretted passing JEE exam to make it to IIT. He wrote that his parents have been living alone and will now live alone in the future as well," said a police official. "He had previous subjects to clear and was depressed and was taking psychiatric treatment for the past one year."

IIT-Bombay director Devang Khakhar said it could not just be about academics. "Though he was poor in his academic performance he was coping with it. It has more to do with his emotional status," said Khakhar. He added that Sharma was in his third year so there was no fear of expulsion either.

Sharma who was scheduled to go home two days before the incident missed his train, claimed hostel mates. "He was to go home two days before but returned to the hostel saying he had missed the train as his cab's tyre got punctured. He seems to have deactivated his Facebook account too, as we are unable to access it since last night," said a student who lives in the same hostel.

"Initially he had fail grades in his first year and he was given a mentor. He had shown improvement after that. His head of department and family had extended great support to him," said the spokesperson. Though the authorities claimed that he was depressed due to his poor academic performance, his hostelmates said that he did not show any signs of depression.

According to sources, Sharma has been a loner but took part enthusiastically in extra-curricular activities. "He was very active on campus in extra-curricular activities but he did not have many friends. He shared his room with a senior student last year but he moved into a single room, he (Sharma) was living alone," said a student. He was working with the institute's placement cell as the associated placement co-ordinator and also actively participated in cultural events. He even submitted a script on a film on their hostel in the past.