In shocking news, one more IIT student took an extreme step to commit suicide inside her hostel room. The family of Fathima Latheef has alleged that she ended her life due to harassment by some of the faculty members.
In a suicide note which came to light, Fathima had mentioned Sudarsan Padmanabhan, an associate professor of Philosophy, Dept of Humanities and Social Sciences at IIT Madras as the cause of her demise.
The suicide note which was set as the wallpaper of her mobile phone read: “Sudarshan Padmanabhan is the cause of my death. PS- Check Samsung Notes.”
Fatima who is a native of Kerala was pursuing an integrated MA programme at the institute was found hanging inside her hostel room.
Initially, IIT Madras authorities had alleged that Fatima committed suicide as she was depressed over scoring low marks in the exams. In reply, the family alleged that Fatima was the class topper in all the subjects and had only got 13 marks out of 20 in internal marks in Logic, which was taught by Sudarshan Padmanabhan, who has been absconding ever since the death. The internal marks were corrected to 18 after she sought a review.
Fathima’s father Abdul Latheef has also appealed Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan to make sure that there is a fair probe into his daughter’s death. In the detailed note which recovered from her phone, Fatima had also named two more faculty members, Hemachandran and Brahme.
The family says that after reading her suicide note, they came to know that Fathima was being constantly harassed by her professor at IIT Madras. “It hurt her dignity.”
Abdul has also accused IIT Madras senior officials of giving “contradictory statements” to hide the matter.
“My daughter faced casteist and religious discrimination from her faculties. Earlier she said that her (Muslim) name itself is a problem there,” Latheef told a local news channel.
The family alleged that many hostel staff had seen Fathima crying in the cafeteria on the day she committed suicide.
Meanwhile, Tamil Nadu Police still continues to claim that Fathima ended her life as she was homesick and even added that the suicide note found on her phone could be ‘fake’.
They have reportedly asked the 3 faculty members named by Fathima in her written letter to appear for the investigation session. Many student groups and activists are also protesting in Kerala and Tamil Nadu demanding justice for the student.