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Thursday, May 12, 2016

Students’ suicides in premier institutions trigger alarm - Assam Tribune


GUWAHATI, May 10 - Blame it on peer or parental pressure or academic stress, even the most fertile brains are falling prey to the fatal side of depression. Students of the Indian Institute of Technology, Guwahati (IITG) are no exception either.

Repeated incidents of students’ suicide at the IITG, which is more than just a centre of academic excellence for the people of Assam (result of Assam agitation), has once again raised questions whether all was well in the country’s one of the premier institutes.

Is IITG going to repeat the ugly string of suicides that institutes like IIT Kharagpur, IIT Kanpur and IIT Madras or for that matter at Kota, which is dubbed as the coaching capital for students in India, had witnessed in the recent history?

Although the IITG came into being in 1995, the frequency of cases of the IITG students taking the extreme step has increased in the past few years. Of the total of seven incidents of suicides reported till date, four of them took place in the last two years itself.

In addition to this, four students had gone missing from its campus and there was one case of natural death since its inception.

There were also four incidents of accidental deaths of students in the IITG, reports available with the Assam Police stated.
Reports that appeared in various publications suggest that IIT Kharagpur had reported over 20 suicides in the last seven years or so. Similarly, IIT Madras in the past six years has seen 10 of its students taking the extreme step.

The IIT Kanpur too is not far behind. Since 2005, 15 students of this prestigious institute have reportedly killed themselves.
But the ugliest face of academic pressure imposed more often by the parents was there to be seen in Kota of Rajasthan. In the last five years, the country’s coaching capital has seen nearly 56 of their students committing suicide.

An official of the IITG, when contacted, said, “We are equally worried about such incidents. However, I must say that reasons are not always related to academic stress. We too are feeling the same sense of loss like their family members.”

The official said that the institution is giving utmost importance on stress/depression counselling. “It has also formed peer groups, which apart from remaining vigilant about any abnormal behaviour, will also emphasis on proper counselling. At present, we have three of them at present,” he added.

The IITG, since the last couple of years, has also laid importance on certain co-curricular activities, especially for the undergraduates, so that they lead an active life, which at the same time will keep the negative thoughts away.