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Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Academic pressure pushes teens to suicide, say doctors - The Hindu

VISAKHAPATNAM, March 28, 2016


About two weeks ago, a tenth standard student in Visakhapatnam city committed suicide, unable to bear the academic pressure. Suicides among students, especially during the examination season from March to May, has been on the rise, and according to the City Crime Record Bureau (CCRB- Visakhapatnam) the total number of suicides during the last five years stands at 22, and of which 13 have ended lives due to the academic pressure.

As per Assistant Commissioner of Police (CCRB), Annepu Narasimha Murthy, the age group varies between 14 and 19 years. “They are either tenth class or intermediate students. During this particular academic phase, the pressure from schools or corporate junior colleges, peer groups and parents are at the highest level,” said the ACP.

Sharing statistics over the last four years, the ACP said: “ In 2013 there were six cases, in 2014 there were two cases, in 2015 the number recorded was six and in the current year till date the figure stands at six.” There were eight girls among the deceased students, he told The Hindu .

According to Prof. N.N. Raju, former superintendent of Government Hospital for Mental Care, this is just the tip of the iceberg. The records at the CCRB indicate just the official figures; there are many cases that go unrecorded and are hushed up.

Comparisons that kill
According to Prof. Raju, the main reason being the direct and indirect comparison by the teachers, peers and parents at home.

“Comparison wreaks havoc on the minds of the students and they develop an inferiority complex, which leads to depression and finally to suicide. Most of the cases that come to me, share this feeling,” said Dr. Raju.

According to Dr. Deepa Mohan, Head of the Department of Psychology, GITAM University, the ambience and the environment in the corporate junior colleges that are engaged in EAMCET and IIT coaching, act as a catalyst to this problem.
“Students are discriminated on the basis of the marks they obtain and are subjected to humiliation.

Instead of being considerate towards the under-performing students and helping them to do better, they are segregated and sent to a different classroom and are branded as ‘no good fellows’,” said Dr. Deepa.

Noted clinical psychiatrist from Vijayawada Indla Vishal opined that students with average academic record should avoid joining the corporate colleges, as the stress levels are very high.

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Can suicide rates be reduced to zero? - BBC News

Can suicide rates be reduced to zero?


Presented by My Perfect Country

In collaboration with BBC News Magazine

Around the world a person dies by suicide every 40 seconds, according to the World Health Organization. The social and economic pressure this places on nations – as well as on family, friends and community – is enormous. Yet only 28 countries are reported to have a national suicide prevention strategy.

So how are different countries and communities responding to this issue, and is it possible to develop a public strategy to prevent suicide?

This guide is produced by My Perfect Country for the BBC World Service, presented by broadcaster Fi Glover, entrepreneur Martha Lane Fox, and Henrietta Moore, director of UCL Institute for Global Prosperity.

2.How do these countries deal with suicide?
Click on the country labels to reveal more information

3.Case-study: Detroit

In Detroit, Michigan, the Henry Ford Health System (HFHS) has been celebrated for its work to reduce suicide rates among mental health patients. In the last two-and-a-half years, they report that they have not lost a single patient to suicide.

"Zero suicides"
The goal of HFHS is to eliminate suicide. As part of their "Perfect Depression Care" they screen every single patient for risk of suicide, not just those who present with mental health problems. Care is then tailored to the needs of patients identified as being at-risk. The centre also promotes communication between patient and healthcare professionals, as well as among the healthcare professionals themselves.

Access to all?
HFHS is a not-for-profit corporation, but is private and used mainly by those with health insurance. The main HFHS mental health clinic is in Detroit, where the poverty rate is 39%, and substance abuse alongside other factors connected to suicide rates are high. So not everyone has access to this service. In 2015, the centre saw 74,000 patients.

Crossing the Atlantic
Elsewhere, the method is catching on. In the UK, Mersey Care, an NHS mental health trust in Liverpool, has also committed to a zero-suicide model, following the HFHS approach. Mersey Care is also working with Stanford University to develop a mobile phone app as a monitoring tool for suicide prevention, which would provide round-the-clock support.

4.How local becomes international
Inspired by the Detroit model, a new approach to suicide prevention has been adopted in the east of England. Caroline Dollery, who is Clinical Director for the East of England strategic clinical network for mental health, explains the benefits and the challenges.

"We wanted to bring the experience, learning and methods from Detroit into the east of England sites that were keen to try this out," says Dollery.

5.Where next?

MY STORY: A Friend’s Suicide Led This IIT Alumnus to Touch 2 Lakh Lives with a Unique Platform - Better India

Guest Contributor March 23, 2016 My Story

In the MY STORY section, we present some of the most compelling and pertinent stories and experiences shared with us by our readers. Do you have something to share? Write to us: with “MY STORY” in the subject line.

I encountered a life changing event when I was in college. One of my hostel mates at IIT Guwahati committed suicide because she was worried about her placements and was under excessive stress. Surprisingly, she did not show any visible signs of depression before that day. She never spoke to anyone about her concerns and the fact that she could take such a drastic step was beyond my imagination. To witness something like this from such close quarters raised many questions for me. How can someone take such a drastic step in spite of having access to a well-qualified counsellor within the campus?
I just could not understand why, and my curiosity led me to continue researching on the issue even after completing graduation.

And I found the answer in the taboo associated with mental health in India. I could see people who were stressed and worried everywhere around me. The statistics around depression and mental health in the country was even more alarming. One person out of every 10 in India is depressed and that is an extremely shocking number. I sensed that people wanted to share their worries but they couldn’t find anyone to confide in. Moreover, many people did not want others to know about their condition because they were worried that if people found out, they would be considered insane. This ignorance made caused many people to keep their stress to themselves.
That was how my perseverance and belief in the need of a system that could help everyday people improve their mental health, led me to start YourDOST – an online emotional wellness coach. With YourDOST, anyone in need of emotional support, mental wellness, self-improvement, personality development, etc. can easily talk to experts. Users can sign up anonymously and express their concerns before practicing psychologists, counsellors, career experts, and mentors.
By effectively utilizing technology, YourDOST is able to address two very critical aspects of seeking mental and emotional wellness – accessibility and anonymity.

In short, YourDOST is an online friend for people in need. We help people boost their confidence, build stronger relationships and overcome everyday problems better. Today, YourDOST has around 200 experts, 20 full time employees and we have already touched more than 2,00,000 lives.
I know that there is a long way to go before we completely end the stigma around mental health in India. But after reaching this stage, I also know that there is no stopping us. YourDOST will continue marching on this mission and touching more lives.
– Richa Singh

Monday, March 21, 2016

Meet – A Startup Which Stopped approx 70,000 People From Committing Suicide- Trak.In

March 18, 2016 at 18:51 pm

The tipping point in the life of Richa Singh, founder of online counselling startup came in 2008, when her hostel mate from IIT Guwahati committed suicide due to academic and social pressure.

As Richa shared, “Later on, it was found that she was under pressure. She was unable to cope with the heavy syllabus and wondered whether her low scores would get her a decent placement. That incident just changed the way I used to think about life and the way things can suddenly turn around.”

Despite not being a psychologist or a counsellor, she launched her startup ‘YourDost’ in 2014, with the only knowledge of the technical aspects and a will to stop people from committing suicide and helping those who are facing emotional trauma and distress.

As it always happens, when a good and noble mission is started, like-minded people automatically join in to enlarge the cause. Her long time friends Puneet Manuja and Prakhar Verma soon joined her startup after leaving their respective jobs, and YourDost started to become huge.

Designed as a platform to provide services of a ‘Emotional Wellness Coach’, YourDost now has a team of psychologists, psychotherapists, counsellors, life coaches and career guides which provide chat based services for those who are confused, scared, hurt and emotionally unstable.

As per available reports, YourDost now gets somewhere between 350-400 conversations per day, as there exists 200+ experts from various walks of life who are contributing to the cause, and helping people to survive and live.

Around 2,00,000 people have sought guidance on this platform, 10,000 people have registered themselves, and approximately 70,000 people decided to ditch the idea of suicide and live.

Last year in November, YourDost raised Rs 2.5 crore as venture capital from RedBus founder Phanindra Sama, TaxiForSure founder Aprameya Radhakrishna, Capillary founder Aneesh Reddy and Nagesh Grandhi of Hyderabad Angels. This clearly means that there are investors and promoters who don’t want crisp ROI on every investment – they want a better society as well.

As per Richa, the funds would be used for creating awareness about emotional well being, develop a stronger platform for supporting more conversations, to increase their team and to develop content which can help emotionally distressed people.
Interestingly, Richa has tried several unique innovations, which has made YourDost a robust, scalable and dependable platform to offer high impact psychological support. For instance, the ability to remain anonymous.

As per Richa, “We all face problems, stress and anxiety at some point in our life but mostly we are not willing to talk about these, fearing social implications, being judged and for the fear of being judged. We are confident that technology combined with empathy and right kind of experts will go a long way in helping people going through a various emotional and mental challenges and equipping them to better deal with it,”
More power to Richa and her team; and best wishes for for doing a task which our society has failed to do.

Want to commit suicide? This portal will prevent you from taking extreme step! = One India

By: Preeti Panwar 
Updated: Thursday, March 17, 2016, 18:00 [IST] 
Give your rating: 

Bengaluru, March 17: At a time when daily newspapers and news channels show news reports, showing people committing suicides, for even petty reason, an IIT alumnus, Richa Singh, has come up with a novel idea. In an attempt to stop people from ending their lives, Richa has founded a crowd-funded online portal,, where psychologists and coaches offer advice to those who are undergoing depression or stress in their lives. 
[IIT-Guwahati student found dead] 

             Richa Singh, Founder of YourDOST 

According to news reports, when Richa was a student in IIT guwahati, her friend had committed suicide, as she was under pressure to get a job placement. 

"We want to become a one stop solution for people's mental and emotional wellness be it personal, professional or academic", Richa was quoted saying as to Buzzfeed. 

[IIT-Bombay student commits suicide] 

About YourDOST 

YourDOST describes itself as, "YourDOST is your personal emotional fitness trainer - a trusted online friend you can talk to and a qualified expert who knows how to help you! The professionally trained counsellors help you cope with tough times - work stress, relationship, self-image and many more, and support you in your quest for self improvement." 

The portal also gives an option of chatting online with experts and book appointments. It provides an online counselling and emotional support platform designed to foster mental health by offering de-stressing tips and techniques, motivational quotes, etc. 

A panel of experts provide personalised guidance by helping them in develop healthy personal relationships, productive and satisfying work-life balance, more focused approach towards achieving goals and more confident self. 

They also claim to provide 24*7 support to guide people and the users have the variety of choice to choose among over 20 psychologists, psychotherapists, counsellors, life coaches and career guides. 

The information is kept completely confidential and users also do need to reveal their identitiy and they can present themselves as anonymous. 

[IIT Madras student ends life] 
[IIT graduate pursuing higher studies in US commits suicide] [Feeling depressed or hopeless? Check with your brain, not heart] 

OneIndia News Read in Telugu: ఒత్తిడిలో ఆత్మహత్య చేసుకోవాలనుకునే వారికి ఈ ఆన్‌లైన్ పోర్టల్ రక్ష! Read more about: suicide, depression, 

Thursday, March 17, 2016

This IIT alumnus has stopped close to 70,000 people from committing suicide

This IIT alumnus has stopped close to 70,000 people from committing suicide

According to an earlier study by the World Health Organisation(WHO), Indians are among the worst hit by depression, with nearly 36 percent of the population having a major depressive episode. While one person in India commits suicide every four minutes, younger Indians are among the worst hit.
That’s why Richa Singh, an IIT Guwahati alumnus, started, an emotional support system for people to discuss problems with qualified and experienced individuals, in anonymity.
Image : The Week
Image : The Week
Problems among those who have sought help range from stress due to bad performance in competitive exams like CAT, IAS, etc. and relationship issues, anxiety during exam preparation, and the feeling of rejection due to working in a field they don’t enjoy, reported The Huffington Post.
According to a 2015 report in The Economic Times, stress is part and parcel of college life, but for some students at the Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs), it can get overwhelming. Everything adds up: daunting academic loads, struggling to keep up after a lifetime of being an overachiever and the burden of expectations from family, friends and peers.
Image: The New Indian Express
Image: The New Indian Express
In 2014, the IITs saw an estimated 14 student suicides, probably the highest ever across these elite colleges. The inability to cope – often spiraling into depression – has haunted several students. “The world creates artificial expectations. There’s peer pressure, family pressure, societal pressure.
Unfortunately, for some students, their ambition is centered around pay packages. To their mind, their success will be judged only around their pay packages and placements,” said Indranil Manna, director, IIT Kanpur.
This is where Richa’s contribution plays a crucial role. Anonymity helps, says Richa. “We all face problems, stress and anxiety at some point in our life but mostly we are not willing to talk about these, fearing social implications, being judged and for the fear of being judged. We are confident that technology combined with empathy and right kind of experts will go a long way in helping people going through a various emotional and mental challenges and equipping them to better deal with it,” says Richa in a report in Business Standard.
Available as a free service both through its web portal and mobile app, YourDOST, according to Inc 42, has close to 70,000 users which is growing at about 40% month-on-month basis. Earlier in 2015, Yourstory had published an article onYourDOST.

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Rohith's suicide, JNU row unites Left and Dalit students all over India

|7 March 2016

University and college campuses in India are seeing more unity between opposing student unions than ever before thanks to the issues of the suicide of Dalit scholar Rohith Vemula and the nationalism-sedition controversy at JNU. Some colleges that never had a student body before are also now creating them.

In JNU, from where Students Union president Kanhaiya Kumar was charged with sedition together with seven other students with various political ideologies after an event was organised on campus on 9 February, where anti-national slogans were allegedly raised, Leftist student organisations such as the Students Federation of India, All India Students Federation and the All India Students Association are now working together with Dalit group, Birsa Ambedkar Phule Students Association (Bapsa).

The All India Students Association and All India Students Federation members were the first in JNU to protest discrimination against Dalits after Rohith's suicide on 17 January, and Bapsa members participated in rallies organised by their one-time rivals to protest the government and police crackdown on JNU.

"We still have ideological differences but have decided to join hands on common issues. It's not a permanent union," said Manikanta, a Bapsa leader.".the recent association is aimed at fighting the Right-wing forces, which are on a mission to destroy institutions."

Do You Know Your Classmate is Suicidal? - Indian Express

By Varun B Krishnan
Published: 07th March 2016 03:31 AM

Try Googling ‘Suicide Tamil Nadu’. By the time you type the ‘a’ in Tamil Nadu, the search engine throws up disturbing suggestions like ‘suicide tips in Tamil’. It’s a widely known fact that Tamil Nadu ranks a notorious second in the number of suicides reported per year (16,122 in 2014; 853 student deaths according to the National Crime Records Bureau). But looking closely at the suicide trend after the death of three college girls in Villupuram, it has come to light that student suicides are not restricted to Board Exam time alone, and stories about college students committing suicide are often reduced to tiny news items.

On February 27, a college student in Tiruchy hanged himself as he was accused of stealing a mobile phone. On February 17, a student in Virudhunagar district self-immolated after he was taken to task on disciplinary grounds. In October last year, two students who had come from smaller towns took their lives at IIT-Madras.

A pattern emerges from the data — several college students who commit suicide fall under certain categories: they hail from smaller towns, they come from weak economic backgrounds, and some of their parents may have even sold their land or mortgaged their jewellery for the sake of educating their children. “Students from rural areas are brilliant in academics, but they lack knowledge about interpersonal relationships, social life and the diversity here,” says Saras Bhaskar, a counselling psychologist. “To rectify this situation, there has to be a proper orientation programme which will make the transition to college life easier.”

Illustration  Tapas Ranjan

Christina, a student counsellor at Loyola College, concurs. “We insist that in orientation, there should be group formation and group activities — let them mingle with other students. Once they form a group, there won’t be too many problems,” she says. “But when they begin to feel they don’t belong in this place or college, that’s a serious concern. Such students strongly feel like outsiders and wait for people to talk to them.”

Another issue is that many students have a lot of free time. If college hours are 8.30 am to 1.30 pm, they have the rest of the day to themselves. “Without a proper group, they start drinking or use drugs,” adds Chrisina. “A neuro-pathway gets created in a way that they are always out of reality.”

Saras Bhaskar recalls a case when a student’s roommates came to her with a problem — their friend was isolating himself for long periods. “He was in a depressed state and didn’t want his parents to know,” she says. Bhaskar advises counselling for parents too, while Christina adds that parents need to allow children to mingle with everyone, face situations, and help them live through failures.

Prevention of suicide should be a holistic approach that involves students, the institution, parents and teachers, they opine.

  • Sunday, March 6, 2016

    19-yr-old IIT aspirant hangs self in Kota - TNN

    19-yr-old IIT aspirant hangs self in Kota

    TNN | Mar 5, 2016, 01.39 AM IST

    JAIPUR: Students continue to succumb to pressure of studies in Kota. A 19-year-old coaching student - preparing for IIT - was found hanging at his rented accommodation in Kota's Vigyan Nagar area on Thursday night. Though the police didn't recover any suicide note, they have not ruled out the possibility that he took the extreme step unable to cope with study pressure.

    The student, Arvind Kushwah, was a resident of Bhind in Madhya Pradesh and was preparing for IIT entrance exam from a private coaching institute. He stayed as a paying guest at a rented accommodation in Kota's Indra Colony.

    "He was seen outside his room in the morning on Thursday, but later he bolted his room from inside. He didn't turn up for lunch at the mess. Nobody noticed his absence. The landlord Karan Kumar Prajapati thought that he must be busy with studies and eaten out," said a police officer.

    The officer said that when the boy didn't come out of his room till evening, the landlord and other students living in the same building got suspicious and knocked on his door. On getting no response, they informed the police.

    A police team from Vigyan Nagar police station arrived at the spot and got the body down after breaking open the door.

    "The boy was rushed to a hospital, but doctors declared him brought dead. We didn't recover any suicide note. We are recording statements of his hostelmates and his teachers at the coaching. It has come up that the boy was an introvert. He was good at studies, but was keeping to himself for the past few days," said the officer. The officer added that the family members were informed. "They arrived in Kota on Friday following which a post-mortem examination was conducted. The body has been handed over to the family members. Further investigation is going on," said the officer.

    Another IIT aspirant ‘kills himself’ in Kota - TNN

    Another IIT aspirant ‘kills himself’ in Kota
    TNN | Mar 5, 2016, 04.38 AM IST

    JAIPUR: In yet another case of suspected suicide due to academic pressure, a 19-year-old student of one of Kota's IIT coaching institutes was found hanging in his rented room, on Thursday night. 

    Seventeen coaching students had committed suicide in Kotalast year. Arvind Kushwah, a resident of Bhind in Madhya Pradesh, stayed as a paying guest in Indra Colony, part of Kota's Vigyan Nagar area. Although police did not recover a suicide note, they have not ruled out the possibility of him taking the extreme step under academic pressure.

    Arvind's landlord Karan Kumar Prajapati said the boy was last seen outside his room on Thursday morning. Nobody noticed his absence in the mess at lunch time. The landlord presumed he had eaten outside and was studying, as the room was bolted from inside, said a police officer.

    But when Arvind skipped dinner also, the landlord and the other tenants came to check on him. They called police on not getting a response from inside. A police team from Vigyan Nagar police station broke open the door and took the boy's body down. He was declared dead on arrival at a hospital. "We didn't recover a suicide note.

    We are recording statements of other hostellers and his teachers at the coaching institute. The boy was an introvert. He was good at studies, but was keeping to himself for the past few days," said the officer. Arvind's body was handed over to his family after a post-mortem on Friday.

    Saturday, March 5, 2016

    JNU row, Rohith Vemula's suicide: Decoding HRD Minister Smriti Irani’s speech in Lok Sabha - ZEE News

    Last Updated: Thursday, March 3, 2016 - 21:28

    Just before the Budget Session of Parliament, it was reported in the media, though not officially confirmed, that Prime Minister Narendra Modi wanted his party colleagues to go all out and be aggressive on the JNU row and the Afzal Guru controversy. And, we saw just that from various BJP lawmakers like Anurag Thakur and Venkaiah Naidu who sought to make the debate into one of nationalism versus anti-nationals.

    However, it was the firebrand HRD Minister Smriti Irani who stole the show in Lok Sabha and became the talking point. Her speech was debated in TV studios and became one of the top trends on social media. It also impressed PM Modi so much so that he tweeted a link of the speech and asked people to listen to it.

    There is no doubt that for someone who is just a little over a decade old in politics, Irani exudes tremendous amount of confidence and has a ready rejoinder to the barbs thrown at her by her opponents. And that is what was at display in Parliament, especially in Lok Sabha where she sought to turn the tables on the Opposition and hammered home the point that Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi was a political opportunist who, if given a chance, would even align with so-called anti-nationals.

    What struck many was the fact that like a good show, the young minister’s speech was laced with both emotion and aggression. Her eyes welled up with tears when talking about the suicide of Dalit scholar Rohith Vemula where she talked about herself being a mother, but the next moment she thundered with anger and challenged anyone to prove that she was guilty of saffronisation of education.

    Irani also countered the Opposition charge that she failed in performing her duty and took a dig at Congress, saying that they were taking revenge from her for contesting against Rahul in 2014 General Elections. Perhaps, she went a little overboard with the theatrics and sounded dramatic when she said ‘my name is Smriti Irani and I challenge you to tell my caste’, but in a nutshell there is no doubt that she stood her ground with her oratorical skills and by summoning the right materials and papers.

    However, the flip side is that Irani banked on emotions and aggression to circumvent certain matters that the BJP is not very comfortable answering. For example, the minister did not touch upon BJP’s alliance with the PDP in Jammu and Kashmir with the latter’s view not really in sync with the former on Afzal Guru. 

    Also, having sort of won the battle in the Lok Sabha, it was a different ball game in the Rajya Sabha for Irani. The Upper House saw huge uproar over her comments on the ‘Mahishasur Martyrdom Day’ being celebrated in JNU with the Opposition accusing the HRD Minister of trying to play communal politics. And BSP chief Mayawati did not let go of the chance to corner Irani by pointing out anomalies in her speech and accusing of BJP of being anti-Dalit.

    Not only this, Vemula’s family and friends called the minister's speech in Parliament about the events surrounding the Dalit scholar’s death as a bunch of lies. And her assertions that no doctor was allowed to attend to Vemula for hours and hours, were also refuted by a university physician. To clear the air, Irani needs to tell the nation as to what her facts were based on, otherwise she will be accused of misleading the House.

    The HRD Minister is not new to controversies and in the short span that she has occupied the office she has weathered many storms – like the allegations of intervention in IIT appointments and accusations of appointments at various educational bodies of those sympathetic to ‘Hindutava agenda’. She was also attacked by the Opposition for allegedly giving wrong facts about her educational qualifications.

    However, every time she gave it back to those criticising her in her own style and it’s likely that Irani may wriggle out of this one too. Yet, she has to be careful because people see through half-truths and lies, if any. But as of now, the HRD Minister to a large extent was successful in fulfilling her party’s agenda of playing on the nationalistic sentiments in the Lok Sabha and emphatically driving home the point to her opponents by stating - “I am not certifying your patriotism, but don’t demean mine. I am not certifying your idea of India, but don’t demean mine.”

    First Published: Thursday, March 3, 2016 - 21:27

    Friday, March 4, 2016

    You lied in Lok Sabha: IIT-B Dalit student's mom tells Smriti Irani in open letter - Mid Day

    By Pallavi Smart |Posted 28-Feb-2016

    Sunita Ambhore, mother of Dalit IIT-B student Aniket Ambhore, who committed suicide in 2014, says her letter to HRD ministry, didn’t make it to the 61,892 letters Irani claims to have responded to

    Her speech in the Lok Sabha on Wednesday — an explanation of the government’s stand on the suicide of Hyderabad scholar and Rohith Vemula and the arrest of JNU student’s union leader Kanhaiya Kumar — may have got Union HRD Minister, Smriti Zubin Irani both accolades and criticism, however, there is one person at least who feels Irani’s ministry has for long denied her justice.

    Sunita and Sanjay Ambhore, parents of Aniket, had visited Rohith Vemula’s family earlier this month. Sunita says the Vemulas have been receiving threats, being asked to “back-off” from the case. Pics/Suresh KK
    Sunita Ambhore is the mother of Aniket Ambhore - a student at the Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay (IIT-B) who was found dead after allegedly slipping and falling off the sixth floor of a hostel building in September 2014. It’s believed that Aniket may have committed suicide as he wasn’t doing well academically.

    Aniket Ambhore, a student of IIT-B, allegedly committed suicide in 2014. Officials said he took this step since he wasn’t performing well academically

    Ambhore, who has now written an open letter to the Union minister on her Facebook post said, “After the JNU controversy, I feel that institutions of higher education are pointlessly being politicised, whereas, there are more important issues that need attention.”

    In her post, which Ambhore — a Hindi lecturer — hopes many share, she accuses Irani of lying in the Parliament and also not acting on the 11-page letter that the Ambhores’ had written following Aniket’s death.

    While meeting sunday mid-day at her Prabhadevi home, she said, “We had written a letter to her department on November 29, 2014, regarding the current student scenario, wishing that whatever ill occurred to my son must not happen again with any other student.” Ambhore said her family hasn’t yet received a response from the ministry.

    Ambhore also said that her letter wanted the ministry to ensure that parents were taken into confidence if their child was not performing at the institute - another aspect that seems to have been ignored.

    Meanwhile, earlier this month, the Ambhore family visited Hyderabad to show their support for Vemula’s family. The Ambhores collected R1 lakh to help Vemula’s mother in her struggle for justice. “The Vemulas are not even living in their house but are always on the HCU campus. They keep receiving threats asking them to back-off from the case. They have been offered money even. We went to meet them just to show that we support them. It is not easy to lose a young son, we understand their plight,” said Ambhore.
    Ambhore's letter

    Dear HRD minister Smriti Iraniji,
    We had written to you regarding the current student scenario, wishing that whatever ill occurred to my son doesn’t happen again with any other student; and there be a healthy environment in all of educational campuses, for SC/ST students in order to help them flourish.
    This appeal was made to you on 29th Nov ‘14. But, no action has been taken for it yet. You claimed that you resolved 61,892 cases that had come to your ministry from May 1, 2014, till date. But, our request isn’t one of them.
    A large number of outstation students study in the respective IIT branches, staying away from home. The gap that needs to be filled is that if any student isn’t performing well in academics, or is suffering from any stress, isn’t it the responsibility of the institute to inform his/her parents about this? Had the management at IIT-B taken this step, the unfortunate wouldn’t have happened.
    All these concerns were written to you, expecting fair...amendments in the functioning. Also, the speech that you made yesterday in the Lok Sabha was very arrogant and did not help in the discussion that was expected. Students look forward to an open and stress-free environment. Such justifications have only widened the tension amongst students. We were expecting you to make a statement that would’ve help us fight our sorrows; instead, your speech sounded like you only cared about your ‘safe-side’ and justifications pertaining to Rohith’s case.

    (The letter has been translated from Hindi)
    - See more at:

    Doctors, NGOs team up to check campus suicide - TNN

    TNN | Feb 28, 2016, 12.29 PM IST

    Chennai: Doctors' bodies such as Indian Psychiatric Society and NGOs like Sneha will work with the support of WHO to frame guidelines and train students, parents and teachers to prevent suicides on campuses.

    The 3-day conference organised by NGO Sneha in Chennai noted that the death of Rohit Vemula in Hyderabad University and 3 medical students in a Tamil Nadu college could have been prevented if these campuses had a 'protective net' of peers, seniors, teachers and health systems. India has the dubious distinction of being the world's suicide capital.

    "Students choosing death above a prospective life shows a failure in the system. We think it's our duty (to correct this trend)," said Indian Psychiatric Society president Dr G Prasad Rao. The society is working with schools while lobbying with the Union human resource development ministry and University Grants Commission to make suicide prevention cells mandatory on college campuses. "We will hopefully get it done by the next academic year. Several doctors have volunteered to work with educational institutions," he said.

    Doctors sought to dispel the belief that people who took their own lives would have ultimately done it even if stopped the first time. Geneva-based Dr Shekar Saxena, director, department of mental health and substance abuse, WHO, said on many occasions suicide can be an impulsive act, especially among the young, making it difficult to predict. "Across the globe experts are calling for reconsideration of suicide-prevention strategies. Growing evidence have shown suicide ideas don't last long. Most people who are prevented from an attempt change their mind in 24 hrs," he said.

    This can happen by keeping students busy in the real-world through social network or denying access to things that can lead to suicide. For instance, access to alcohol and drugs to a depressed student can prove lethal. At least 35% of all those who committed suicide in India did it under the influence of alcohol, said Sneha founder Dr Lakshmi Vijayakumar.

    Support, they said, is crucial. "Our family ties are becoming weak, and the new ties which should have been strengthened haven't become strong. Support doesn't exist on many campuses," said London-based Dr Vikram Patel from London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. In many countries including the UK, suicide rates are low because people on campus have taken the responsibility to work on them, he said.

    Two years ago, Dr Vijayakumar and a former IIT director toured the IITs to find out reasons for campus suicides. "We made recommendations such as developing 'student mentors' who would listen to juniors, encourage and offer emotional support. 

    This is working well in IIT-Kanpur. We wanted it implemented on all IIT campuses. The file is probably gathering dust in the ministry," she said.

    Rohit Vemulas Suicide Rocks Parliament

    The New Indian Express
    She said Rohith Vemula said that no one was responsible for his death and ... While attacking BJP and RSS, Scindia also raised the issue of FTII, IIT ...

    HRD Minister Smriti Irani speaks in the Lok Sabha in New Delhi on Wednesday. | PTI

    NEW DELHI: In one of the fieriest debates in the recent times, the issue of Rohit Vemula, Dalit scholar who committed suicide, and JNU episode rocked both the houses of the parliament as Opposition and the treasury benches traded charges.

    While, emotionally charged HRD minister Smriti Irani attacked opposition, particularly Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi, of politicising the death of a student and siding with those opposed to India, the united opposition pilloried the government for playing partisan politics.  Congress, TMC, BJP, Left while denouncing anti-national slogans in JNU, they charged government was gunning against students opposed to their ideology.

    Aggressive Irani took on the united Opposition in Lok Sabha head on while speaking during the discussion, saying she would leave politics if anyone of the vice chancellors appointed were to suggest she was indulging in saffronisation.   

    “I am not certifying your patriotism. But don’t demean mine. I am not certifying your idea of India, but do not demean mine,” she said even as opposition parties staged a walkout.

    Rubbishing opposition charges over for her handling of Vemula’s death. Irani said, “My name is Smriti Irani. I challenge you to tell me my caste.”

    "No one can raise a finger against me on this issue. I am taking it personally as woman who gives birth can break from inside,” Irani said choking with emotion while referring to her criticism over Vemula’s death while adding "Our children are not vote-banks."   She said Rohith Vemula said that no one was responsible for his death and even added that the executive council that took the decision to suspend Rohith was appointed by Congress.

     In Rajya Sabha, BSP supremo Mayawati clashed with Irani as her party members forced adjournments over non-inclusion of a dalit in the inquiry panel to probe Vemula’s death, and even insisting on separate discussion into Vemula’s death rather than clubbing it with the JNU issue. She also accused government being anti-dalit, even as no business could be conducted for the first day. responded to Mayawati by saying, "I am ready to reply to all questions. First you allow the discussion... You are senior to me. You are a woman. If you want, I am ready to reply. If you are not satisfied with my reply, I am ready to behead myself and lay it on your feet."

    In Lok Sabha, Irani turned emotional several times as she read out from the posters and slogans used in the JNU against India, questioning the death penalty of Afzal Guru and even some uncharitable remarks against Goddess Durga. She questioned why was Rahul Gandhi siding with the anti-nationals and if attack on her was because she was Congress VP’s rivel in Amethi. 

    “Even Indira Gandhi lost power. But her son never supported slogans demanding destruction of India,” Irani said targeting Rahul for supporting JNU students. 

    Reffering to some in JNU also praising Yaqub Menon, she said bomb blasts took place in Mumbai on March, which is my mother’s birthday, how can i forget. They questioned Supreme Court and India, she added.   Irani named all the student mentioned in the JNU report and said "Umar Khaild misled the university administration saying that he was organising a poetry reading event".

    Referring to Rohit Vemula case, she said even other MPs had written to him several times, like Congress Hanumantha Rao, Assadudin Owasi, as it was her duty.  “My ministry handled 61,000 complaints we never asked the caste or religious of them,” she charged.  She accused Telangana government of playing politics over the death of a child. “

    Have you seen Rahul Gandhi going to a spot twice. He went there, as he was playing politics. Earlier gandhio speaking to reporters outside the parliament had said he was willing to speak but he was not being allowed to voice his opnion. Rajnath Singh responded with saying government will not stop anyone. 

    Meanwhile, Home Minister Rajnath Singh assured the Lok Sabha that no innocent student will be harassed and said the issue of sedition charge slapped against some students should be left for the courts to decide.

    Earlier during the day, Congress MP Jyotiradtiya led the attack on government for death of Vemula and crushing dissent in JNU.   "Bandaru Dattaterya in his letter had called Rohith a castiest and an anti-national. Where in the world can you see a HRD minister writing five letters in any case," he said.
    While attacking BJP and RSS,  Scindia also raised the issue of FTII, IIT Madras and JNU and said, "the government was trying to muzzle the voice of the youth."

    He alleged that the government was angry with JNU because it stood against "saffron terrorism", Dadri lynching, RSS and the suicide of Rohith Vemula in the Hyderabad University.

    From BJP side, Anurag Thakur raised the nationalist pitch over the JNU issue and attacked Congress, saying for the party, "it is 'family first', 'party next' and 'nation last'. For us, it is 'nation first', 'party next' and 'family last'."
    He alleged that Rahul Gandhi went to the university to support such outfits which were named by the previous UPA government as "frontal organisations" for Maoists.     "I want to ask Sonia ji, why your young leader was standing with those who stand with Afzal Guru," Thakur said addressing the Congress President who was present there.
    TMC MP and former Harvard professor Sugata Bose accused the government of being "heartless" in dealing with the students and said the situation in the JNU should have been handled with sensitivity.  He said   BJP’s definition of nationalism was "narrow, selfish and arrogant" and even warned them for raising this pitch while qoting Tagore, Netaji and Aurobindo. He was heard with rapt attention. After his speech even Sonia and Rahul went to congratulate him.
    BJD member Tathagata Satpathy described Azfal Guru as a "scoundrel" and said the system gave the dreaded man full chance to defend himself. But he added, the government should have handled the JNU episode with care and the Home Ministry should not have made a statement on the basis of tweets.
    CPM MP M B Rajesh said the BJP was branding JNU as a centre of anti-national activities.
    Congress leader M Mallikarjun Kharge said nobody should politicise the issues of Hyderabad central University and JNU.     "You have 80,000 constables and you are not able to catch 8-10 students and instead you are defaming all the
    people," Kharge said and asked whether it was Congress' fault.

    Sparks fly in Houses over JNU row, Rohith Vemula's suicide - The Asian

    Sparks fly in Houses over JNU row, Rohith Vemula’s suicide

    Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi talks to media at Parliament House in New Delhi.   (Photo: PTI)
    Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi talks to media at Parliament House in New Delhi. (Photo: PTI)
    Govt bid to muzzle youth: Jyotiraditya
    The raging Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) controversy rocked Lok Sabha proceedings on Wednesday with an emotionally charged human resources development minister Smriti Irani saying the university’s student union president, Kanhaiya Kumar, and other students were found indulging in anti-national activities by the varsity authorities themselves.
    She also made an emotional pitch on Hyderabad Central University student Rohith Vemula’s suicide, saying that her ministry had no role in his death and that the deceased himself had said in his suicide note that nobody should be held responsible for his action.
    Replying to a discussion on the JNU row and Vemula suicide incident, Union home minister Rajnath Singh assured the Lok Sabha that no innocent student would be harassed and said the issue of the sedition charge slapped on some students should be left to the courts to decide. The home minister also told the House that those found guilty of attacks on the media in the Patiala House courts would not be spared.
    Sparks flew as soon as the House started a discussion on the JNU row and Hyderabad Central University student Rohith Vemula’s suicide, with both the Treasury benches and the Opposition playing a game of one-upmanship to present their credentials as “nationalists”.
    Initiating the debate, Congress chief whip Jyotiraditya Scindia alleged “undue interference” by Union HRD minister Smriti Irani and labour minister Bandaru Dattatreya in Vemula’s case. “Bandaru Dattatreya in his letter had called Rohith a castiest and an anti-national. Where in the world can you see a HRD minister writing five letters in any case,” Mr Scindia said. The Congress MP from Guna also raised the issue of FTII, IIT Madras and JNU and said “the government was trying to muzzle the voice of the youth”.
    Lambasting the government, Mr Scindia attacked external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj, tribal affairs minister Jual Oram and Ms Irani for emphasising that Vemula was not a dalit.
    Criticising the role of the Hyderabad University administration, he said protests and fights are the part of academic institutions but in this case the vice-chancellor should have tackled this issue in a better way. However, he instead suspended the dalit students and compelled them to stay in an open tent because of the “politics of the RSS and BJP”, the Congress legislator said.
    “The Prime Minister speaks of demographic dividend of the youth. But what do we see in the country? In Madhya Pradesh, we see Vyapam in Madhya Pradesh, the problem of drugs in Punjab, the way the voice of students in FTII was muzzled. The government machinery is being misused and is trying to crush the voice of the dissident and those having a contrary view,” he said.
    He also questioned the silence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, saying, “He tweets on every other thing, but it took five days for him to speak on this matter, only after a worldwide uproar. There is no reference in Mann Ki Baat.”
    Later the home minister in his reply to the debate also told the House that those found guilty of attacks on the media in the Patiala House courts would not be spared. The home minister also answered criticism for making a remark that LeT founder Hafiz Sayeed had expressed support to the JNU students, saying he never makes any comment which is “baseless or not backed by any direct or indirect evidence”. He, however, refrained from going into details citing confidentiality.
    Replying to a day-long debate on the JNU issue, he said the government had no hand in the action taken against the students and that the police was taking action with regard to allegations that anti-India slogans were chanted there. “If slapping of sedition charge was right, the court will uphold it, if it was wrong, the court will quash it. But let the court take a view on it,” he said, adding, “Under no circumstances will any innocent student be allowed to be harassed.”
    HRD minister Smriti Irani came out all guns blazing while replying to the charged day-long debate. She said she was being targeted by the Congress for contesting against Mr Rahul Gandhi in Amethi parliamentary constituency. “I will not seek forgiveness for doing my duty... You (Congress members) never wanted to listen to my reply,” she said aloud as the Congress members, Left parties and Trinamul Congress staged a walkout as she was speaking.
    During the last 20 months as minister, Ms Irani said, she had tried to do justice to students by trying to address their complaints without asking for their “caste or religion”.
    Rejecting the charge of saffronising education, she said she would quit politics if it was established she had made any attempt to do so.
    Most of the vice-chancellors are Congress appointees, Ms Irani said, adding she had asked them to listen to students who come from different backgrounds and address their issues.
    Citing documents, she said a report by JNU’s security people observed that some students were indulging in anti-national sloganeering even though the students had sought permission to hold a “poetry” event. Those involved in the programme, including Umar Khalid, Kanhaiya Kumar and others, she said, were suspended by the JNU authorities though they were allowed to stay on the campus till completion of the inquiry.
    Sugata Bose of the Trinamul Congress accused the government of being “heartless” in dealing with the students and said the situation in JNU should have been handled with sensitivity. Observing that similar problems were witnessed at Jadavpur University, he said the West Bengal government did not over-react but tried to defuse the situation. He said people could disagree with students, but it would be incorrect to brand them anti-national and slap sedition charges on them. “They too have the right to make a mistake,” he added. Nobody, Mr Bose said, should claim a monopoly on nationalism and the government should respect the right of everyone, including that of students, to freedom of speech and expression.
    Quoting his grand-uncle, Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose, he said it would be wrong to pursue nationalism which is “narrow, selfish and arrogant”. He suggested that laws dealing with sedition should be repealed as they were enacted by colonial rulers to subserve their ends.


    Ahmedabad Mirror | Feb 20, 2016, 02.00 AM IST

    A 21-year-old third-year mechanical engineering student of IIT Gandhinagar was found dead at the parking lot of his apartment in Chandkheda on Wednesday. Chandkheda police have registered a case of accidental death and begun interrogation. 

    They are also going through the society's CCTV footage. Bhumil Acharya is survived by his parents and a younger brother. According to his college source, although academically gifted, Bhumil was suspended following a harassment complaint by a student in December last year.

    Bhumil, a resident of Swati Residency-5 near Sneh Plaza in Chandkheda, had left his home after dinner on the intervening night of February 16 and 17. Around 4 am, his mother woke up and found him to be nowhere in the house. On trying to open the main door, she found it locked from outside. Bhumil's parents called up a relative, Rameshbhai, who lives nearby and came down to open the door. It was he who found Bhumil's body lying in the building's parking lot. Later, neighbours and locals informed the police.

    Chandkheda Sub Inspector H B Chavda, who is investigating the case, told Mirror, "We have registered a case of accidental death. Preliminary investigation ascertained that the Bhumil could not have fallen from a height as no major injury mark was found on his body. However, we did find a blood clot near his right hand's elbow. We have also interrogated the society's security guard who claimed of knowing nothing about the incident. We are also scrutinising the CCTV footage of the apartment."

    "Currently, we are waiting for Bhumil's family to return from their native place, where they had gone to perform his last rites. After they return, we would acquire his mobile phone to trace his call details. We are also awaiting his post mortem exam report," he added. Dean of students, IIT Gandhinagar, Prof Sanjay Manjalay, said, "Bhumil was academically smart and we had never received any complaint against him before a student registered a harassment and misbehaviour complaint in December 2015. Following that, the institute had to take disciplinary action against him. He was suspended for one-and-a-half years from the college."