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Thursday, April 14, 2022

How to deal with student suicides?


How to deal with student suicides?
Thursday, 14 April 2022 | 
Brijender Singh Panwar



Need to remove stigma associated with mental health problems

As per the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB),suicides in India rose to an all-time high of over 1.5 lakh in 2020. The trend seems to have picked up during the last two stressful and anxiety filled years of the COVID pandemic. Murder and suicide rates are similar throughout the world, conflict zones and drug-mafia-ridden Latin America being exceptions. 

In India, people are five times more likely to take their own lives than be murdered. 

While systems are in place in the form of law enforcement agencies, prisons and judiciary to prevent heinous crimes, lack of resources and willpower hamper effective mechanisms to deal with the problem of suicides. 

The issue of suicide, especially amongst the youth, was highlighted in the recent session of Parliament when Bhujan Samaj Paty (BSP) MP Danish Ali raised the issue of suicide committed by three students of Teerthankar Mahaveeer Private University, Moradabad, Uttar Pradesh. The Education Ministry said the UGC had informed that Central Universities had reported 24 suicide cases of students from 2017 to 2022. Records are not up to date and so the reasons remain unknown.The government was not willing to commit itself to rectifying the situation. 

Minister of State for Education RajkumarRajan Singh said: “We take every case of students death seriously. However, education being in the concurrent list, the state has to also share the responsibility.” 

The pertinent question is why so many student suicides are reported from reputed institutions like IITs and Central Universities? 
The answer lies in the mental and emotional pressure being faced by the students today. They have to face intense competition at an early stage of life. The expectations of the parents are too high. The trauma starts from seeking admission to nursery class, scoring high marks, topping board examinations, securing admission in professional courses and competing for highly paid jobs. Although the Government is spending lot of money on education, the concept of career counselling is virtually absent. 

Either the students are clueless about their career choices or their preferences are rarely considered by parents. Often, parents impose their choices on their wards. There is a rat race to get their children admitted to IITs and Medical Colleges. 

 The business of coaching classes is thriving across the country. Hordes of children join them. When they fail to get admission, they fall into depression and that leads some of them to take the extreme step of committing suicide. Even those who get admission in premier institutions are so drained out that at times they fail to cope with the rigorous schedule of studies and commit suicide out of frustration. The positive side is that the problem of suicide is getting attention at present and statistics on suicides are being generated on a regular basis to understand the gravity of the situation. 

The first commendable step which the government has taken was decriminalisation of suicide through the Mental Healthcare Act,2017. 

The second positive step was recognizing its responsibility of providing medical care and rehabilitation to persons with suicidal tendencies. 

However, in India, the awareness about psychiatric issues is low. The social stigma attached to psychiatric fallouts like depression and substance abuse remains high and prevents the patients from accessing medical care. There is acute shortage of psychiatrists and counsellors to cater to the demand of the suffering people. 

The health facilities required for huge the patient load are also insufficient. There is a need to spread awareness amongst the parents and students by providing career counselling and family therapy.

(The writer is a senior journalist and Chairman, Panwar Group of Institutions, Solan, Himachal Pradesh. The views expressed are personal.)

Tuesday, March 29, 2022

Inspired by Jai Bhim movie, IIT Madras scholar takes up legal battle against co-scholar, others in sexual assault case


Inspired by Jai Bhim movie, IIT Madras scholar takes up legal battle against co-scholar, others in sexual assault case

A 30-year-old research scholar in Tamil Nadu decided to pursue a legal battle against a co-scholar, seven others for sexually assaulting, abusing her, after drawing inspiration from the movie Jai Bhim.
Chennai March 28, 2022



The survivor, who underwent nearly four years of torture, decided to take up legal battle after drawing inspiration from movie Jai Bhim.

A 30-year-old student who was allegedly sexually abused by her fellow scholar and seven other students has taken up a legal battle for justice, after reportedly drawing inspiration from the movie Jai Bhim.

The film Jai Bhim was a talking point for depicting the systemic injustice and cruelties faced by marginalised communities in Tamil Nadu.

The student has mentioned in the FIR the heart-wrenching manner in which she was abused by her fellow scholar Kingshuk Debsharma and seven of his friends.

The student had joined IIT Madras on July 14, 2016 and got acquainted with Kingshuk. She felt comfortable with Kingshuk, as they spoke the same native language, which he took advantage of by sexually assaulting her.

The accused had caused hindrance to the survivor by not allowing her to freely use equipment that forced her to speak with him. In the FIR, the survivor mentioned that using this as a chance, he had called her to the lab on the pretext of resolving the issue. The accused then allegedly sexually abused her, took pictures of her and used them to blackmail her for a period between 2016 and 2020.

The survivor, after undergoing nearly four years of torture, had attempted suicide but was rescued by her friends. The student reportedly did get the full support from her family and had complained to the IIT Madras officials and an Internal Committee was constituted.

The findings of the committee against sexual harassment recorded that the survivor had undergone verbal abuse and was physically abused twice by Kingshuk.

ALSO READ | Suriya's hard-hitting tale about caste injustice and police brutality is a must-watch

The committee findings also reported that Kingshuk’s friends Malay Krishna, Subhadeep Bannerjee, Dr E Ravindran also harassed her. And as an interim recommendation stated that the above-mentioned students should not be permitted to enter the campus, until the survivor completes her thesis.

However, due to the pandemic, classes were conducted online but the accused were not barred from attending it along with the survivor, causing her more trauma.

In a strange turn of events, the survivor then sought the help of Suganthi, State General Secretary of All India Democratic Women’s Association (AIDWA) who stated that the survivor and her friends had watched Jai Bhim movie and had attained hope that they still had a chance to get justice.

A complaint was registered with Mylapore All Women Police Station on March 29 2021 but the FIR had only registered a complaint under sections 354, 354B, 354C and 506 (1) and omitted rape charges as she didn’t explicitly mention the word rape. Furthermore, no charges under Prevention of Atrocities against SC/ST were filed.

"Justice Chandru informed us and also called a senior police official. The survivor then spoke to us and we were shocked to know that no rape charges or POA against SC/ST were filed in the FIR. We were even shocked that the accused had attended online classes along with the survivor even after the Internal Committee had given interim recommendations the other way", stated Suganthi.

After AIDWA took the case, these factors were highlighted and Kingshuk was arrested by Tamil Nadu Police Special Team and is in Diamond Harbour Police station in West Bengal, awaiting a transit warrant.

Thursday, March 10, 2022

IIT-Madras Student Suicide: High Court Quashes FIR Against Protesters From Campus Front Of India


IIT-Madras Student Suicide: High Court Quashes FIR Against Protesters From Campus Front Of India Sebin James 9 March 2022 8:30 

No Efforts To Stop Harassment, Suicides: IIT Madras Students

No Efforts To Stop Harassment, Suicides: IIT Madras Students

IITs have become a den of institutional murders, a study by APSC IIT Bombay has claimed.
Sruti M.D.
08 Mar 2022




The death of Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Madras student Fathima Latheef in November 2019 caused tremors on the campus and galvanised students into demanding structural changes in the institute’s administration to prevent such deaths and a more inclusive atmosphere.

The student group ChintaBAR made a three-point demand: studying the mental health of IIT Madras students, expanding the scope of the departmental grievance redressal cell to incorporate harassment and drafting a standard operating procedure to enquire into all deaths on the campus.

Ambedkar Periyar Study Circle (APSC), another student group at IIT Madras, demanded “an active cell containing students, faculty members and employees to address the issues of discrimination against SC, ST, OBC and minority communities”.

Although the institute’s administration promised to work towards fulfilling these demands, another IIT Madras student committed suicide in June 2021.

Shubhankar Dhiman, a 21-year-old aerospace student, committed suicide by hanging himself at his home in Sunder Nagar, Himachal Pradesh, when the campus was shut because of the pandemic and classes were online.

NO EFFORTS MADE BY ADMINISTRATION

Following Latheef’s death, IIT Madras students launched an indefinite fast to ensure that their demands were met. The fast was called off following an assurance by the dean of students that a complaint-and-redressal system will be set up in every department at the earliest and the issues faced by them would be looked into.

Some of the departments already have a grievance redressal cell which functions arbitrarily. “We demanded that the scope of the grievance redressal cell be expanded to include mental harassment and discrimination. It is unclear how these cells function and whether they consist of student representatives,” IIT Madras student Aswin Chadayan told Newsclick.

As for the study on mental health, the ChintaBAR statement read: “A study on the mental health of the students on campus would be conducted by a committee comprising psychologists, educationists, sociologists, etc. as was demanded by the student legislative council.”

Notably, Dhiman’s friends expressed doubts that academic issues could have led to his death as he wasn’t attending classes and could not write the end-of-semester examinations.

Referring to Dhiman’s suicide, Chadayan said, “When an IIT Madras student committed suicide in June last year, we reiterated the study on mental health. We sent out emails to the director and the dean of students. We have not received any reply to the mail till date. We had written to the administration to enquire about the progress of its promises and also sought information on the specific measures taken by the administration to address the issues faced by the students in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic.”

CLEAN CHIT DESPITE ACCUSATIONS

A couple of weeks ago, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) had submitted its final report on the investigation into Latheef’s death concluding that she committed suicide and ruling out the possibility of mental harassment.

According to the report, Latheef had some psychological issues and took the extreme step due to homesickness. However, her father had alleged that she was subjected to mental torture and harassment which pushed her to commit suicide and pointed out discrepancies in the report.

Similar to the Latheef case, the committee set up to probe Vipin P Veetil’s allegation of discrimination against fellow faculty members found “no evidence of caste bias”. Veetil was an assistant professor at IIT Madras who belongs to a community from Other Backward Classes. 
He rejected the findings alleging caste bias and procedural lapses, and said that key evidence was not considered in the inquiry.

‘DEN OF INSTITUTIONAL MURDERS’

Two deaths by suicide at the institute have been reported in the last 10 months alone—a project staff who was found dead inside the campus and a second-year student committed suicide at home.

Student suicides have been reported at other IITs in Delhi, Bombay and Kharagpur. In January, a 26-year-old postgraduate student of IIT Bombay died after allegedly jumping from the terrace of his hostel. In his suicide note, he had written that no one was responsible for his death.

“IITs have become a den of institutional murders. In 2019 alone, there were 16 institutional murders. These are systematic killings,” claims APSC IIT Bombay.

The IIT campuses have been repeatedly accused of not being inclusive and being elitist dens for upper castes while the marginalised and minorities are sidelined. RTI data shows that none of the IITs allow reservations in faculty positions.

Saturday, February 26, 2022

West Bengal: Decomposed body of 52-year-old IIT-Kharagpur professor found at campus quarters


West Bengal: Decomposed body of 52-year-old IIT-Kharagpur professor found at campus quarters

The mechanical engineering professor identified as Sati Nath Bhattacharayya was missing for several days and was found dead at his quarters.

Updated Feb 26, 2022 | 04:30 AM IST

West Bengal: Decomposed body of 52-year-old IIT-Kharagpur professor found at campus quarters




The 52-year-old was a mechanical engineering professor at IIT-Kharagpur.

A missing complaint was filed by IIT authorities after professor went missing around 10 days ago.

Kharagpur: A missing IIT-Kharagpur professor has been found dead at his campus quarters in Paschim Medinipur district of West Bengal. The 52-year-old was a mechanical engineering professor at IIT-Kharagpur.

The victim has been identified as Sati Nath Bhattacharayya. He was missing for over a week. Police suspect the professor died some days back.

A missing complaint was filed by IIT authorities after professor went missing around 10 days ago. The body was recovered by Hijli police from his B-58 quarters. The body was later sent for autopsy, according to a report in Times of India.

"This is a very shocking case. We were unable to trace the professor for several days. Later, we informed police about the matter. We are trying to reach out to his friends and family members," the report quoted Tamal Nath, IIT-Kharagpur registrar, as saying.

Tamal said police are looking into his death and IIT authorities are cooperating with police.

The deceased had joined IIT-Kharagpur as assistant professor in the mechanical engineering department in 2000.

 Bhattacharyya later became professor and specialised in fluid mechanics.

Thursday, February 24, 2022

Dharmendra Pradhan asks IITs, NITs, central institutions to stop de-reservation of seats:


Dharmendra Pradhan asks IITs, NITs, central institutions to stop de-reservation of seats: Report

The Union education minister has asked all central institutions to stop transferring unfilled reserved seats to the general category immediately.


Dharmendra Pradhan asks IITs, NITs, central institutions to stop transferring reserved seats to open category: Report
Vagisha Kaushik | Feb 23, 2022 - 1:37 p.m. IST

NEW DELHI: Union education minister Dharmendra Pradhan, has asked the Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs), National Institutes of Technology (NIT) and central universities to stop transferring unfilled reserved seats to open category immediately, the Times of India reported. The education minister has asked the institutions to strictly follow the reservation policy, the report said.

Also Read | More than 10,000 seats across courses in IITs remained vacant in last 2 years, 8,700 in NITs

The education minister has reportedly sought a compliance report from the institutions at the earliest. Pradhan has also asked colleges to reduce the cutoffs for the reserved category if required and provide them with additional year of study, as per the report.

Also Read | IIT PhD scholar protests against ‘discrimination’ in IITs in front of education ministry

A senior official of the education ministry told TOI, “It has come to the notice of the ministry that some central educational institutions or agencies have been carrying out de-reservation of unfilled General-EWS and OBC (non-creamy layer) seats by transferring them to the open or general category during admissions. We have also received a number of verbal and written intimations of such practices in recent times.”

Also Read | 58% student suicides in IITs, NITs, central institutions from SC, ST, OBC, minority communities

The official added that the education minister instructed central institutions including IITs and NITs to stop the de-reservation immediately and to follow the reservation-related provisions in letter and spirit, the report said.

Further, Pradhan asked the institutions to ensure that the reserved seats are filled and to provide coaching and supplementary year of study to disadvantaged students if required along with support for exams, counselling and admissions.

Saturday, February 19, 2022

FATIMA LATHEEF CBI ENQUIRY,


Suicide IIT, suicide, iit
Daily update ⋅ 19 February 2022

CBI says IIT-M student Fathima died by suicide, rules out mental harassment | The News Minute
The News Minute
A special investigation team of the Tamil Nadu police was constituted to probe her death after her family alleged that she was driven to suicide. The ...

IIT-M student Fathima committed suicide, concludes CBI - Free Press Journal
Free Press Journal
Chennai: Fathima Latheef, an IIT-Madras student, committed suicide, according to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), which probed her death ...


CBI winds up IIT-Madras student Fathima committed suicide | NewsTrack English 1
NewsTrack English - News Track Live, NewsTrack
CHENNAI: The investigation into the death of IIT-Madras student Fathima Latheef by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has found that .

The Central Bureau of Investigation That Probed the Death of IIT-Madras - Latestly
Latestly
The latest Tweet by IANS India states, 'The Central Bureau of Investigation that probed the death of IIT-Madras student #FathimaLatheef has ...










Friday, February 18, 2022

CBI concludes probe into death of IIT-M student Fathima,


CHENNAI
CBI concludes probe into death of IIT-M student Fathima

FEBRUARY 17, 2022 22:01 IST



The Indian Institute of Technology Madras. Photo Credit: K. PICHUMANI

The Central agency reportedly found no evidence of harassment

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has filed a final report closing the investigation into the death of 19-year-old Fathima Latheef at IIT-Madras hostel, concluding that it was a case of death by suicide due to homesickness and recording that the student had psychological issues, said sources. In its conclusions, the report matches with the one already submitted by the special investigation team headed by the then Additional Commissioner of Police, Central Crime Branch, C. Eswaramoorthy in 2019.

Fathima, 19, from Kollam, had joined IIT-M in July 2019 and was a first year student of M.A. Humanities. She was found dead in her Room No, 349 at Sarayu Hostel on the campus on November 9.

Initially the case was investigated by Kotturpuram police under Section 174 of the Criminal Procedure Code for unnatural death. After retrieving a suicide note from her phone, her father Latheef alleged that she had been facing harassment forcing her to take the extreme step. He met the Chief Ministers of Tamil Nadu and Kerala and demanded a thorough probe, besides raising serious allegations against a professor.

The death of the student had sparked protests from political parties and student organisations. The case was transferred to a special team, led by then Additional Commissioner of Police, Central Crime Branch (CCB), and it submitted a report that there was no prima facie evidence of the three professors she had named abetting the suicide. Later, the case was transferred to the CBI in December 2019.

Now, the CBI, after completing the investigation, has filed a final report containing 2,000 pages in a special court for the CBI cases recently. It has concluded that Fathima ended her life because she had been homesick and had some psychological issues. It ruled out the probability of any mental harassment.

Mohammed Shah P. A., advocate for Mr. Latheef, said, “The CBI has now filed a final report stating that was a suicide — we have serious objections with this. Now, the court has issued notices to the parents of the victim. On Wednesday, we got the chargesheet. The matter was posted to February 28. We are going to file objections pointing out certain serious lapses on investigation.”

Mr. Shah said, “The enthusiasm of the warden to explain that homesickness is the reason for her death is suspect. Now, the CBI concluded that Fathima committed suicide due to homesickness. The CBI has no answer as to why she specifically mentioned the name of a professor immediately before her death and why she has not opted to write names of any other persons. Even when the CBI concludes that Fathima is having psychological issues the above question is necessarily to be answered.”

Role of teachers

He said the role of the teachers is highly important and no investigation with respect to their involvement was carried out by CBI. He said the CBI conducted the investigation by taking statements of the persons in a pick and choose method to conclude that Fathima committed suicide due to homesickness.

One of the student bodies, Chinta Bar had staged a protest on the campus demanding an internal probe. A student who participated in the protest and has since graduated said: “Initially the institute said it was cooperating. We sat on hunger strike and one of the demands was that there should be an internal investigation. The other demand was for student fraternity as a whole to tackle the issue of mental health of the students,” the student said.

The institute had declined to conduct an internal inquiry citing the ongoing police investigation. “The institute said the investigation was delayed because of COVID. Recently, the family had got to know unofficially that the CBI had not charged anyone. The family was looking to take this up legally but I don’t know what happened,” the graduate added.

With the institute yet to open, there has not been much interaction among students either, he added. “The incident happened when she had barely been in the institute for less than three months. The students were just beginning to get accustomed to college life. Soon afterwards with COVID breaking out the college hasn’t been opened,” he pointed out.

( Assistance for overcoming suicidal thoughts is available on the State’s health helpline 104 and Sneha’s suicide prevention helpline 044-24640050).

Friday, February 11, 2022

10k seats remained vacant across IITs in 2 years


10k seats remained vacant across IITs in 2 years 
By Oneindia Correspondent | Published: Thursday, February 10, 2022, 

Over 10,000 seats across different courses remained vacant in various Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) during the last two years, while over 8,700 seats were vacant in National Institutes of Technology (NITs), Union Education Minister Dharmendra Pradhan said on Wednesday. Pradhan gave the information in a written response to a question in the Rajya Sabha, PTI said in a report. 

According to the data, 5,484 seats remained unfilled in IITs in 2020-21. 

Of them, 476 seats were vacant in undergraduate courses (BTech), 3,229 seats in postgraduate courses, and 1,779 in PhD courses. 

In 2021-22, the number of vacant seats in IITs were 5,296, slightly lower than the previous year. 

Of them, 361 seats remained vacant in BTech courses, 3,083 in postgraduate courses and 1,852 in PhD courses. 

In NITs, the data showed, while 3,741 seats across various courses were vacant in 2020-21, the number further increased to 5,012 in 2021-22. Of them, maximum seats remain unfilled in postgraduate courses i.e. 2,487 in 2020-21 and 3, 413 in 2021-22. 

How Taran Singh An Ex-IITian helps aspiring engineering students prepare better "The premier engineering colleges like IITs, NITs and IIITs impart education and research in science and technology subjects and are categorised as Institutions of National Importance. The admission to various programmes in these institutions are strictly offered only to deserving candidates based on the ranking/ other parameters, who fulfil the required eligibility criteria," the minister said. (PTI)

Thursday, January 27, 2022

IIT Guwahati student mysteriously found dead in hostel room,

IIT Guwahati student mysteriously found dead in hostel room

In the mysterious turn of events, a student from the Indian Institute of Technology, Guwahati (IIT) was found dead in the hostel.
GuwahatiJanuary 26, 2022



The student’s dead body was found inside the hostel room of Kapili Hostel, IIT Guwahati. (Representational Image)

In a bizarre case, a PhD student at the Indian Institute of Technology, Guwahati, was found dead inside his hostel room under mysterious circumstances.

As per the media report, the deceased student has been identified as Prashanta Kumar Arukha. He was pursuing his PhD from the social science and human resources department of the institute. As per reports, he was last seen by hostel members two days ago.

The security personnel at Kapili Hostel, on suspicion of something being wrong, broke open his room, after which the lifeless body of the student was discovered. The university authorities have informed Amingaon Police of the incident.

The body of the deceased has been sent to Gauhati Medical College and Hospital for postmortem and a case of death due to the unidentified cause has been registered by the police.

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Tuesday, January 25, 2022

58% student suicides in IITs, NITs, central institutions from SC, ST, OBC, minority communities

58% student suicides in IITs, NITs, central institutions from SC, ST, OBC, minority communities

122 students from IITs, NITs, central universities, other central institutions died by suicide over 2014-21, education ministry told Parliament


In October, a fourth-year student of engineering physics died at his hostel at IIT Delhi. (Picture source: Wikimedia Commons)

R. Radhika | Dec 20, 2021 

NEW DELHI: In the past eight years, premier technical institutions and central universities witnessed 58 percent of student suicides from the Scheduled Caste, Scheduled Tribe, and minority communities.

Government data presented in Lok Sabha on Monday showed that educational institutions like Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs), National Institutes of Technology (NITs), Indian Institute of Science, Indian Institute of Science Education and Research (IISER) along with central universities saw a total of 122 suicide cases.

A majority of suicides were reported from the Other Backward Castes (OBC), especially in Central Universities, the data presented by the education minister Dharmendra Pradhan showed. A total of 41 students from the OBC community died by suicide between 2014 and 2021. A total of 14 such cases were reported in Central Universities; followed by IITs and NITs with 14 and 11 cases respectively. NITs alone reported a total of 30 student suicides in the same period.

Meanwhile, 37 students died by suicide in Central Universities across India of whom 24 students belonged to the SC community. Other prominent institutions like, IISc Bengaluru and IISER witnessed a total of nine suicide deaths among which four were reserved category students.

Also Read| Over 33% of SC, ST, OBC students drop out in Class 10: UDISE+ Report

Indian Institute of Management or IIMs and other centrally funded institutions recorded five and four such cases respectively.

Suicide cases in education institutions between 2014 to 2021

Click on Caption above to see Table of Suicides

IIT suicide case

According to the ministry of education data, the IITs recorded 34 death by suicides of which 18 were from SC and OBC communities. The IITs have repeatedly come under heavy criticism for caste discrimination with several incidents surfacing in the past few months. Several students in engineering students have reported cases of institutional discrimination and explicit threats from teachers in the recent past.

In April, Seema Singh, a teacher in the humanities and social science department of IIT Kharagpur, was heard hurling abuses at an English preparatory class for Dalit and Adivasi students. IIT Kharagpur eventually suspended Singh but only after a massive public outcry.

Earlier in June, a mechanical engineering student, Hari Prasath, studying in the third year at IIT Delhi died by suicide in his hostel. In October, another fourth-year student of engineering physics died at his hostel in IIT Delhi.

In 2016, the suicide case of Rohith Vemula, a 26-year-old PhD student at Hyderabad Central University emerged as the symbol of protest against caste oppression on campus. Vemula died by suicide after being expelled from the university's housing facility.

If you, or anyone you know, needs help, AASRA has a list of resources here: http://www.aasra.info/helpline.html

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Thursday, January 20, 2022

'Stop Mental Torture':


'Stop Mental Torture': 

IIT Madras PhD Scholar Protests Against Harassment At Ministry Of Education, Demands Strict Action 

Writer: Akanksha Saxena 
 (Digital Journalist) India, 20 Jan 2022 Editor : Snehadri Sarkar 
| Creatives : Akanksha Saxena 

Dr Sachida Nand Pandey has been protesting in front of the Ministry of Education for over a week. He holds a PhD degree from IIT Madras and filed a PIL to the Supreme Court, asking for transparency in the faculty recruitment process. India is slowly heading towards becoming an educational hub. Many aspirants around the country aim to get admission in the creme de la creme of colleges that provide the best opportunities. However, their circumstances make it difficult. 

Our country's deeply entrenched caste system is unfortunate in denying students excellent opportunities in such institutions. Not only that, several face communal and regional discrimination that wreak havoc on their studies. 

Recently, a student at IIT Bombay took his own life as he went through mental turmoil. The incident raises many uncomfortable questions about the harassment students to face in premier Indian colleges. 

In light of this, a PhD holder named Dr Sachida Nand Pandey has been protesting in front of the Ministry of Education in New Delhi, demanding some answers and stringent actions against such treatment meted to students in IITs across the country. 

Demanding Transparency In Faculty Recruitment Since the last week, Dr Pandey has been standing in front of the Ministry, with a placard saying 'Stop Mental Torture, Stop Harassment'. He filed a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) to the Supreme Court, where he asked for reservations in IIT faculty placement and to stop mental harassment a student goes through. 

He claims no transparency in the institute's faculty hiring process. "If anyone applies to teach at IIT, they should have a PhD degree. They are needed for several research projects, sometimes urgently. However, many have been hired for useless reasons that leave out those who truly deserve the position," Pandey tells 

The Logical Indian. According to him, the IITs across the country have recruited less than 10% of people from reserved categories for the faculty position, which is lesser than the mandated percentage. 

"The IIT Council tells us that they have recruited a certain number of people to maintain quality. However, the council reveals over 50% of non-performing faculty. They would not have had this problem if they had taken in skilled people for the positions," Dr Pandey explains. 

Discrimination And Mental Harassment

Another important aspect of his agitation is discrimination and harassment. Students do not have it as caste, regional and religious discrimination occurs in these institutes. "A North Indian harasses a South Indian, and vice-versa, this goes both ways. Ultimately, a student is in the middle of all this. All they want is a capable professor to teach them; their religion, caste or region does not matter," Dr Pandey adds. 

Protesting at the Ministry of Education. Apart from this, many students are suffering from mental health problems. Pandey says, "Many people in IIT campuses are struggling with issues like anxiety and depression. It is a stressful and toxic environment. If a student does excellent research, the professors will take all the credit, and if it is the opposite, you will not be employed anywhere. In such circumstances, a young aspirant will always be scared." 

An alumnus from IIT Bombay and Madras, Pandey has also suffered his share of discrimination. He alleged that his name was removed from his projects, and his fellowship was terminated for a year. 

Why Is Supreme Court And Education Ministry Silent? 

Dr Sachida Nand Pandey has been protesting in front of the Education Ministry building since January 7. He filed the PIL to the Supreme Court last year but has not received an answer yet. 

"I took all of these up to the apex court. While they accepted my plea for recruitment transparency, they have not responded to the discrimination bit," he said. Not just Dr Pandey, everybody wonders why are the Supreme Court and the Education Ministry silent on such grave matters. 

The IIT and other premier institutes have steadily increased student suicide cases. 

Not only that, over 7000 students and scholars have dropped out in the last five years. Therefore, the protest goes on with more enthusiasm. 

Dr Sachida Nand Pandey's agitation will go on until he receives concrete answers from the authorities in the form of stern action taken against rampant discrimination and harassment.

Late IIT-B student was in love with nature, had an artistic side to him

FPJ-Ed: Late IIT-B student was in love with nature, had an artistic side to him

Abhishek Nair



IIT Bombay | iit.ac.in

The 26-year old student, who died by suicide at the IIT Bombay campus, appreciated nature and involved himself in gardening as he was passionate about it.

The student also made a resolution to plant a seed or a sapling last year as he wanted to make every day count.

The boy, who hails from Indore, also had an artistic side to him according to his friends, and loved making sketches, paintings, illustrations, and much more, showcasing vividity in his creations. His attachment with the craft also led him to create fan art influenced by the popular media franchise of Pokemon, which was admired by his peers.

The student, who was completing his Masters in Design from a reputed institute, also had a liking for architecture and frequently created professional building models for a firm.

The postgraduate, who reportedly sought help for mental health issues, allegedly jumped from a balcony on the seventh floor of the hostel situated near the campus's Gymkhana ground, the area has thus been restricted. 

The incident, which happened around 4:30 AM on Monday, led to the arrival of police on the campus and a note was recovered through which he instructed his friend to hand over his phone to brother.

The boy's brother and father reached Mumbai on Monday, while acquaintances of the student who were called up for questioning by police post the incident have been released apparently.

Free Press Journal reached out to IIT-B but no statement has been issued by the institute yet.


(To receive our E-paper on whatsapp daily, please click here. We permit sharing of the paper's PDF on WhatsApp and other social media platforms.)Published on: Wednesday, January 19, 2022, 11:15 PM IST

Wednesday, January 19, 2022

Student Suicides On A All Time Rise - Warns NCRB Data - Logical Indian,



 The Logical Indian Crew 

Student Suicides On A All-Time Rise, Warns NCRB Data 

Writer: 
Simran Sharma India, 18 Jan 2022 9:32 PM Editor : Snehadri Sarkar |
 Creatives : Snehadri Sarkar 

According to the latest National Crime Records Bureau data, India recorded a new high of 12,526 suicides by students.

The percentage has sharply risen by 21.19 per cent since 2019. According to the latest National Crime Records Bureau data, India recorded a new high of 12,526 suicides by students. The percentage has sharply risen by 21.19 per cent since 2019. The data collected since 1995 reveals that more than 1.8 lakh students have committed suicide, of which 2020 has recorded the highest number. The problem of student suicides has been a serious one. With cases increasing every year, finding reasons for it is becoming crucial. 

What Are Experts Saying? 
Out of the 12,526 suicides, nearly 53 per cent (6,598) were from Maharashtra, Odisha, Madhya Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Jharkhand and Karnataka. The trends show that between 1995 and 1999, student suicides accounted for 5.2 per cent of the total suicides, and this percentage increased to 8.2 per cent in 2020. 

A study reveals that India's large proportion of suicides occurs between the ages of 15 to 29 years. Failure in exams, parental expectations, substance abuse, unemployment, and poverty are common reasons for these suicides. Covid -19 had further worsened the situation.

 Psychologists have pointed out the issue of mental health due to Covid lockdown, staying indoors, and emotional isolation is considered potential reasons. 

Roshni, an NGO helping people with suicidal thoughts, told the Hindu that the number of calls they received saw a big jump in the lockdown time. They received maximum calls from people within the age group of 20 to 45. Past Student Suicides Over the last seven years, a total of 122 students have committed suicide. Roughly half of them belonged to the marginalised castes or tribes. 

Out of the 24 were SC and ST, 41 were OBC's. Many of these students were from IITs and IIMs, Hindustan Times reported. Another such incident happened in Tamil Nadu in 2021. A day after a 19-year-old boy committed suicide before the National Eligibility Entrance Test( NEET), an 18-year-old aspirant also did the same. The police said that the girl was fearful of not clearing the entrance test. 

In a statement, MK Stalin, Tamil Nadu's Chief Minister told that their government would not compromise in any manner in the legal struggle for scrapping NEET, Hindustan Times reported. 

In a recent incident, an IIT Bombay post-graduate student committed suicide by jumping off from the hostel building. As of now, depression is seen as the primary reason for suicide, Times Now reported.

Tuesday, January 18, 2022

26-year-old IIT Bombay student dies by suicide: Police - Darshan Malviya,


26-yr-old IIT Bombay student dies by suicide: Police

The police said that the deceased had written a suicide note on the white board in his room, stating that no one was responsible for his death.

By: Express News Service | Mumbai |
Updated: January 18, 2022 1:47:37 am

IIT Bombay (File Photo)

A 26-year-old student, who was pursuing post-graduation in the Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay, died after he allegedly jumped from the terrace of his hostel. The police said that the deceased had written a suicide note on the white board in his room, stating that no one was responsible for his death.

According to police officials, the incident took place at around 4.30 am on Monday, when he allegedly went to the terrace of the hostel to end his life.

“He was accommodated in a room on the fourth floor and he was staying alone in the room, so nobody came to know when he left the room,” said a police officer.

“Activity on campus is not as usual due to the pandemic restrictions. The number of students is lower due to the restrictions,” shared a resident of the same hostel.

The incident came to light when a watchman saw his body. “When he fell on the ground, the watchman heard the sound, after which he rushed to the spot and alerted everyone,” said the officer.

IIT officials, along with other students, rushed him to Rajawadi Hospital, where he was declared dead.

“He had written a note on the white board that was in his room. He wrote that nobody should be held responsible for his death and he has had enough trouble since his childhood,” said an officer.

The police said that the deceased, who was a second-year student of M. Tech, hailed from Indore.

“We have come to know that he was seeking treatment from a psychiatrist since the last three months and we are trying to find out whether he was going through depression since a long time, as his suicide note suggests,” said the officer.

He had joined IIT-Bombay in the middle of the pandemic last year.

He had completed Bachelor in Architecture in Indore, his hometown, before he joined IDC School of Design at IIT Bombay. He was pursuing ‘Communication Design Program’ – a post-graduation course with two-year tenure.

“He was a person with extraordinary talents in design, photography, architecture,” shared an old friend of his.

Powai police said that they have registered a case of accidental death and are investigating to ascertain whether there was any foul play. They said his family has been informed about the incident and they have come to Mumbai.

“A postmortem was conducted and the remains were handed over to the family of the student,” said another officer.

After the incident came to light, a special counselling session was held for residents of this hostel by the Students’ Welfare Centre at the institute.

One of the hostel residents shared, “Even though everybody may not know him personally, living in the same hostel means you know the faces of fellow residents. It definitely is difficult to accept that one of us is no more, and such a tragic incident. It was good to see that the institute took this into account and after a group session for all, students were informed that they could talk to counselors on campus if required.”

While IIT Bombay did not issue an official statement, the PRO stated, “Very unfortunate incident took place at IIT Bombay today morning and we have lost a second-year Masters student. We condole the death of our student.”


According to data shared by Minister of Education Dharmendra Pradhan in the Lok Sabha in December 2021, between 2014 to 2021, a total of 34 cases of suicide were reported in various IITs.

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IIT Bombay Student Dies by Suicide, Blames Depression in Note Recovered From Hostel Room

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Friday, January 14, 2022

IIT PhD scholar protests against ‘discrimination’ in IITs in front of education ministry,

IIT PhD scholar protests against ‘discrimination’ in IITs in front of education ministry

Sachchidanand Pandey filed plea in the Supreme Court against students’ suicides, opaque faculty recruitment process, discrimination, corruption in IITs.

IIT PhD scholar is protesting in front of ministry of education against discrimination, harassment against students in IITs (Source: Official Statement)
Jan 13, 2022 - 6:41 p.m. IST


NEW DELHI: Sachchida Nand Pandey, a PhD graduate from the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Madras, has been protesting since January 7 in front of the ministry of education over the issues of students’ suicides, alleged mental harassment, research-related corruption, and discrimination in IITs.

Recommended : Get important details about IIT Madras. Download Brochure

Earlier, Pandey filed a petition in the Supreme Court seeking directions to the IITs to follow reservation policy in admissions in research degree programmes, transparent recruitment process, termination of non-performing professors. The top court has only issued a notice on the reservation issue, he told Careers360.

Also Read | ‘It’s a meat-grinder’: Stress and despair at the IITs

Not only the Supreme Court, the education ministry is also silent over these issues even after writing to the education minister, he said. Pandey has also written to the Chief Justice of India (CJI) NV Ramana demanding reasons for the silence.

In his mail to the CJI, Pandey has accused the professors of IITs of having unprofessional, unsocial, and in-humane behaviour towards students. He claimed that in the past few years, around 100 students have died by suicide and over 7,000 left the institutes without completing their studies owing to “professors’ in-human behaviour, highly stressful and terrifying environment created by IITs managements”.

He further criticised the allegedly opaque and discriminatory recruitment practices in the IITs, alleging that they continue to flout reservation policy formed by the government.

Alleging that discrimination against students in IITs is two-fold, on the basis of caste and region, he declared that IITs have hired “incapable and useless quality of faculty”.

“In 2019, the IIT council accepted that over 50% of professors' performance is below the desired level,” he asserted in his mail.

Also Read | IITs witness 50 suicides in 5 years; 14 at IIT Guwahati alone

Pandey went on to talk about the discrimination and harassment allegedly inflicted on him while he was studying at IIT Bombay and Madras. He alleged that he had had his name removed from research, was removed from high-value projects, stopped from attending international conferences, and had his fellowship terminated for a year.


Saturday, January 8, 2022

IITM alumnus who filed plea seeking reservation in faculty recruitments start protest in front of MoE

IITM alumnus who filed plea seeking reservation in faculty recruitments start protest in front of MoE


In the photographs that Pandey had shared with EdexLive, he can be seen masked up and holding a placard saying, "Stop mental torture, stop harassment"


Parvathi Benu



Pandey during the protest (Pic: Sourced)

Sachchida Nand Pandey, a postdoctoral fellow at IIT Bombay and an alumnus of IIT Madras is protesting in front of the Ministry of Education, against
 "alleged discrimination and mental harassment" of students in IITs

Pandey had previously filed a petition in the Supreme Court, seeking to implement reservations in IIT faculty recruitment.

In the photographs that Pandey had shared with EdexLive, he can be seen masked up and holding a placard saying, "Stop mental torture, stop harassment."  He had also written a statement, posing a series of concerns and questions to Chief Justice of India NV Ramana, where he said that the SC is silent on "unconstitutional recruitment policy and mental harassment of students." He also accuses Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the MoE on being silent on "academic corruption, racial discrimination and harassment." He also points out the number of student suicides in IITs, the high drop out rate and lack of reservations.

Pandey's petition, that was filed last year, sought to create a mechanism for resolving the research harassment complaints, to constitute a committee of technical experts to review the performance of existing faculty and to cancel the appointment of non-performing faculty "due to violation of reservation norms, formation of transparent recruitment policy."

Friday, December 31, 2021

IIT suicide case: Fatima’s family objects to CBI report


IIT suicide case: Fatima’s family objects to CBI report

The probe on her death was transferred to the CBI from the crime branch in December 2019.

Published: 31st December 2021 06:52 AM 



Abdul Latif addressing reporters in Chennai on Thursday | Ashwin prasath
By Express News Service

CHENNAI: Abdul Lateef, father of Fatima Lateef — a student of IIT Madras who allegedly died by suicide on the campus in November 2019 — on Thursday said he is not satisfied with the CBI probe in the case, and has decided to file an objection to the closure report filed by the probe agency.

According to Abdul, a native of Kerala, the CBI has submitted a closure report in the case before the Chief Metropolitan Magistrate court at Egmore recently, which holds no one responsible for Fatima’s death. “We will file our objections in the court after going through the report in detail.

We have also filed a petition seeking a copy of the report,” said Abdul’s lawyer, Mohammed Shah.Shah also said the deceased’s family has no faith in the CBI, and wants the TN police to hold a re-investigation. “We will approach the court seeking re-investigation by the police or the crime branch,” he said. Shah alleged the CBI did not take note of the name of a professor at the institution, whom Fatima had mentioned in her suicide note.

The probe on her death was transferred to the CBI from the crime branch in December 2019. The investigation, however, made little progress after that. Then suddenly, the CBI filed a closure report in the case, alleged Shah. “The family never asked for a CBI probe. Mysteriously, the case was handed over to the CBI from the crime branch,” said Shah.

    Friday, December 24, 2021

    Govt says 34 IIT students died by suicide from 2014-21 but news reports point to 52 deaths- What happened?,


    Govt says 34 IIT students died by suicide from 2014-21, but news reports point to 52 deaths. What happened?

    According to the data that EdexLive had collated by tracking news reports from 2014 to 2021, it says that at least 52 IIT students have died by suicide while studying in these institutes


    Parvathi Benu

    Edex Live




    Pic: EdexLive

    There appears to be a mismatch in the number of suicides among students in the IITs and those reported during the corresponding period.

    On Monday, December 20, Dharmendra Pradhan, Union Minister of Education had presented the data at the Lok Sabha on students who had died by suicide in the country's Higher Education Institutions. The data says that between 2014 and 2021, 122 students died by suicide in all the IITs, IIMs, IISc, IISERs, IIITs, Central Universities, NITs and CFTIs combined.

    According to the Ministry, 37 of these deaths occurred in Central Universities, 34 occurred in the IITs and 30 happened in the NITs. Of the total number of students who died by suicide in these seven years, 58 per cent belong to SC, ST, OBC and minority communities combined. The minister was answering a question raised by DMK MP AKP Chinraj.

    When we pointed out the difference in the number of deaths, Chinraj said that he would point it out to the ministry, again. Meanwhile, mental health practitioners whom we spoke to pointed out that the mismatch could be because the suicide data is sourced from the National Crime Records Bureau and that no health agency records it.

    But are these numbers accurate?
    According to the data that EdexLive had collated by tracking news reports from 2014 to 2021, there are reports of at least 52 IIT students who have died by suicide, while studying in these institutes. While most of these deaths occurred in 2019 (11), nine deaths occurred in 2014. It may be recalled that 2019 was the same year in which Fathima Latheef, a master's student of IIT Madras took her life, allegedly owing to faculty discrimination. Her suicide created a hue and cry at the time. Of the students who took their lives during this period, nine were from IIT Kharagpur, while eight were from IIT Guwahati.

    What is the government doing about it?

    "The Government of India and the University Grants Commission (UGC) have taken several initiatives to check the incidents of harassment and discrimination of students. University Grants Commission (Redressal of Grievances of Students) Regulations, 2019 have been formulated to safeguard the interests of the students," Pradhan said in a written response.

    "The Ministry has undertaken various steps such as peer assisted learning and introducing technical education in regional languages for students in order to ease the academic stress. The Government of India's initiative named MANODARPAN covers a wide range of activities to provide psychological support to students, teachers and families for mental and emotional well-being during the COVID outbreak and beyond. In addition, institutions conduct workshops/seminars on Happyness and Wellness, regular sessions on yoga, induction programmes, extracurricular activities including sports and cultural activities and appointment of Student Counsellors for overall personality development and de-stressing students. Further, students, wardens and caretakers are sensitised to bring to notice the signs of depression in fellow students to the authorities so that timely clinical consultation may be provided," he added.

    If you are feeling depressed or anxious, please do reach out and connect with professional help, available on these numbers in your states:

    Suicide helpline numbers

    Sneha Suicide Prevention Centre, Chennai
    Number: 044 2464 0050

    Sahai Helpline, Bengaluru
    Number: 080 2549 7777

    DISHA, Kerala
    1056

    Sumaitri, Delhi
    Number: +91 011 23389090

    Hope Helpline for Students, Rajasthan
    +91 0744 2333666

    Thursday, December 23, 2021

    Among 122 student suicides since 2014, 111 at central uni, IITs & NITs: Govt in Lok Sabha

    Among 122 student suicides since 2014, 111 at central uni, IITs & NITs: Govt in Lok Sabha

    According to the data shared on student suicides between 2014 and 2021, 122 students across institutes killed themselves. The government informed Parliament that central universities have seen the most number of suicides 37.

    By TPT Bureau
    -December 22, 2021



    Almost 111 students suicide cases in higher educational institutions, including IITs, IIMs, and central universities across the country, have been reported since 2014, Union Minister of Education Dharmendra Pradhan informed the Lok Sabha on Monday.

    The government shared statistics of ragging cases in recent years and elaborated on the action taken to eradicate the blight from campuses. According to the data shared on student suicides between 2014 and 2021, 122 students across institutes killed themselves. The government informed Parliament that central universities have seen the most number of suicides 37.

    Also Read: Student suicide rising, every one hour one student commits suicide in India

    Central universities have seen the highest number of SC/ST/OBC suicides,14 students belonging to the Other Backward Classes, nine from the Schedule Castes and one student from the Schedule Tribes category have died by suicide in these institutions.

    The Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) were a close second, with a total of 34 student suicides. According to the break-up given by the government, 13 and five students belonging to the OBC and SC categories respectively died by suicide in the IITs.The National Institutes of Technology (NITs), saw a high number of suicides, with 30 students taking their lives. This included 11 from the OBC and six from the SC categories. The Indian Institute of Science (IISc) saw nine student suicides over the years.

    The ministry has taken several steps to address mental health concerns to keep a check on student suicides, Pradhan listed out, “peer-assisted learning and the introduction of technical education in regional languages for students in order to ease academic stress”.

    “The government of India initiative, Manodarpan, covers a wide range of activities to provide psychological support to students, teachers, and families for mental and emotional well-being during the Covid outbreak and beyond. In addition, institutions conduct workshops/seminars on happiness and wellness, regular sessions on yoga, induction programs, extracurricular activities including sports, cultural activities, and the appointment of student counselors for overall personality development and de-stressing students,” he added.

    In a response to another query in the lower house of Parliament, Minister of State for Education, Annapurna Devi, informed that there has been a steep decline in ragging in higher education institutes in the country. The total number of complaints of ragging received over the years was 1,016 in 2018, 1,090 in 2019, 219 in 2020, and 425 in 2021.

    Action taken on these complaints led to 535 students being punished and 254 suspended in 2018, 504 punished and 246 suspended in 2019, 97 punished and 48 suspended in 2020 and 160 punished and 72 suspended in 2021.

    The drop in the number of complaints about ragging received in 2020 to 219 can be attributed to the mode of education shifting from physical to online classes during the pandemic. Although, the persistent incidence of ragging cases despite a ban on them since 2009 reveals poor execution of rules.

    Annapurna Devi stated that in order to ensure that such incidents do not happen on campuses, “UGC has made it mandatory for all institutions to incorporate in their prospectus the directions of the government regarding the prohibition and consequences of ragging”.

    “A nationwide, toll-free 24×7 anti-ragging helpline — 1800-180-5522 — in 12 languages has been established, which can be accessed by students in distress owing to ragging related incidents,” she said. The University Grants Commission has set up an anti-ragging website as well as a coordination committee and inter-council committee for effective measures against ragging in higher educational institutions, the Lok Sabha was told.

    Source: The Print, Outlook

    Tuesday, December 21, 2021

    122 students from central institutes died by suicide in seven years: Centre


    122 students from central institutes died by suicide in seven years: Centre

    total of 122 students from central government-run higher education institutions, including the IITs and IIMs, have died by suicide over the past seven years and roughly half of them belong to marginalised castes or tribes.


    A total of 122 students from central government-run higher education institutions, including the IITs and IIMs, have died by suicide over the past seven years.

    Published on Dec 21, 2021 12:26 AM IST

    ByDhrubo Jyoti


    A total of 122 students from central government-run higher education institutions, including the IITs and IIMs, have died by suicide over the past seven years and roughly half of them belong to marginalised castes or tribes, the government said on Monday.

    In response to a question by Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam member AKP Chinraj, Union education minister Dharmendra Pradhan told the Lok Sabha that 122 students had died by suicide between 2014 and 2021, and 68 of them belonged to the scheduled castes (SC), scheduled tribes (ST) or other backward classes (OBC).

    This included Indian Institutes of Technology (IIT), Indian Institutes of Management (IIM), Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Indian Institute of Science Education and Research (IISER), Institutes of Information Technology (IIIT), central universities and other central government institutions.

    “The government of India and University Grants Commission (UGC) have taken several initiatives to check the incidents of harassment and discrimination of students. University Grants Commission (Redressal of Grievances of Students) Regulations, 2019 have been formulated to safeguard the interests of the students,” the minister told Parliament.

    Of the 122 students who died by suicide, 24 were SC, three were ST and 41 were OBC. Another three students were minorities, said the written response.

    The highest numbers were from central universities, 37; out of this, 9 were SC, 1 ST and 14 OBC – roughly two-thirds – while three were minorities.

    34 students died of suicide in IITs, out of which five were SC and 13 OBC. Another 30 students died of suicide in NITs, out of which six were SC and 11 OBC.

    The minister listed several steps taken by the government to address mental health concerns.

    “The government initiative, named MANODARPAN, covers a wide range of activities to provide psychological support to students, teachers and families for mental and emotional wellbeing during the Covid outbreak and beyond. In addition, institutions conduct workshops/seminars on happiness and wellness, regular sessions on yoga, induction programmes, extracurricular activities including sports and cultural activities and appointment of student counsellors for overall personality development and de-stressing students,” said the minister.

    “Further, students, wardens and caretakers are sensitised to bring to notice the signs of depression in fellow students to the authorities so that timely clinical consultation may be provided,” he added.

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