IIT Bombay Student Death: Alumni, students' groups write to Maharashtra Deputy CM, seek FIR

Bombay government has formed a team to probe the death by suicide of Darshan Solanki, a student from IIT Bombay.

IIT Bombay. (Picture: Official Website)IIT Bombay. (Picture: Official Website)

Press Trust of India | March 22, 2023 | 12:21 PM IST

MUMBAI: At least two students' collectives of the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Bombay have requested Maharashtra Home Minister Devendra Fadnavis to direct the police to register an FIR in the death of the first-year student, Darshan Solanki, who allegedly committed suicide in February.

The state government has already formed a special investigation team (SIT) headed by a senior police officer to probe the death. In an e-mail-cum-letter written to Fadnavis on Tuesday, the students' groups claimed the SIT investigation is based on the Accidental Death Report (ADR) filed by the police, and "the refusal of the SIT to base their investigation on FIR is a failure to recognize the rights of the family".

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This letter is written by Ambedkar Periyar Phule Study Circle (APPSC), Ambedkarite Students Collective (ASC) and a concerned alumni group of IIT Bombay. The APPSC also tweeted a photograph of Solanki with a caption that he would have turned 19 on Tuesday.

Solanki, who hailed from Ahmedabad in Gujarat and was a first-year student of the B Tech (Chemical) course, allegedly committed suicide by jumping off the seventh floor of a hostel building located on the campus on February 12. His family had claimed he faced discrimination at the IITB for belonging to a Scheduled Caste community and suspected foul play in his death.

Also Read | ‘Was it expecting casteist slurs?’ Suicide report exposes IIT Bombay’s ‘apathy’: Activists

However, the inquiry committee set up by the IITB has ruled out caste-based discrimination and hinted at deteriorating academic performance as a possible cause of suicide.

"Darshan would have turned 19 today, if the institute had implemented all the policies mandated by law, reservation in faculty, mental health support, sentisation for savarnas, proper grievance redressal mechanism, etc. @iitbombay has failed you. #justicefordarshansolanki, (sic)" the APPSC tweeted.

Also read | 61 student suicides in IITs, NITs, IIMs in last 5 years: Education Ministry

The students' groups claimed in their letter that Solanki's parents came to Mumbai for lodging an FIR (First Information Report) on March 16, but the local Powai police station, the SIT, and senior officials of Mumbai Police refused to file the FIR despite multiple requests from parents and accompanying lawyers.

They claimed till now the SIT's investigation is based on the Accidental Death Report (ADR) filed by the police. "The refusal of the SIT to base their investigation on FIR is a failure to recognize the rights of the family to register a complaint in respect of cognizable offence as provided under the law.

"We fear this angle of the investigation will reiterate IIT Bombay's Interim Report where they put the blame on Darshan's merit, ignoring possible atrocities that he might have endured," the letter stated.

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