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IIT student found hanging from fan
Vijay Singh in Mumbai | November 07, 2003 08:43 IST
In a shocking incident, a first year student of the prestigious Indian Institute of Technology in Mumbai was found dead in her hostel room on the night of November 4.
Eighteen-year-old Vartika Murthy's death was discovered after she failed to answer her mother's calls on her cell phone. The latter called up the hostel and asked her friends to check on her.
Her room was locked from inside but no one answered repeated knocks on the door. One of the girls tried to peep inside through a small ventilation window. Suspecting something amiss, she called security personnel who informed higher authorities and then broke the door.
Vartika was found hanging from the fan. She was rushed to the institute's dispensary where she was declared dead.
Police reached the spot and shifted her body to the Rajawadi Hospital for a postmortem. They suspect suicide, but there was no indication of why she would take the drastic step.
Sources said that Vartika was the only child of her parents. Her father had died some time back and she was close to her mother who is a schoolteacher in Kanpur, Uttar Pradesh.
Vartika had joined the IIT's chemical engineering course earlier this year.
IIT spokesperson Aruna Thosar-Dixit said, "Her mother used to call her up every day on her cell phone. Through some students, I also came to know that she was taking treatment for something, but don't have the details."
Outstation students often face problems adjusting to life outside their homes owing to various reasons – language, lack of confidence, etc.
"We help students handle such problems. In Vartika's case, these things did not matter as she used to participate in all college activities and her academic performance was also very good," Thosar-Dixit said.
She ruled out ragging because of the tough stance adopted by the management. There are two wardens and a student-general secretary for each hostel. The campus has 13 hostels.
Kanti Prabha, student-general secretary of the hostel where Vartika resided, said, "She was a very active girl, used to participate in all the activities organised by us. A few days back, we returned to the campus after the Diwali vacation. The institute has many programmes where seniors support juniors in several ways. So there is no question of her having problems in the hostel."
Vartika did not have any visitors. However, she did have an aunt in Panvel, about 40km from Mumbai.
Investigating Officer Sampatrao Patil said the post-mortem report is awaited.
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