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No one aware what drove 18-year-old IIT-Kanpur student to suicide

Last updated on: September 23, 2011 20:42 IST

Director of the institute rules out ragging as reason for the boy to commit suicide. Sharat Pradhan reports.

Mystery shrouds the suicide by a first year student of Indian Institute of Technology– Kanpur where eight students have ended their lives over the past five years.

Twenty-four hours after 18–year-old Mehtab Ahmed was found hanging from the ceiling fan of his hostel room, the police were still groping in the dark to find out what drove him to take the extreme step. The youngster left no suicide note.

IIT authorities flatly rule out ragging as the cause of suicide, while police were working on their own theory of 'frustration in love'. Even his parents were unaware as to what drove their bright son to suddenly end his life in this manner.  

While the boy's father could not be contacted, IIT director Sanjay Dhande told over telephone from Kanpur, "the father of the boy, who is a sub-inspector of police in neigbouring Kannauj district, is also convinced that there was no ragging on our campus."

"Ragging is completely banned on the campus and whenever any incident is reported, prompt action is taken. In this case, there was never any complaint and that has been confirmed by his teachers as well as batchmates," said Dhande.

"What has however been established from his overall behaviour was that the boy was inclined towards writing sad romantic poetry which seems to reflect his depressing thoughts," the director said.

Police Inspector Rajesh Kumar, who is investigating the case, however, claimed, "We have come to know that the boy was in love with some girl outside the IIT campus; we are trying to identify the girl after which we should be able to get some clues."

Mehtab's batchmates describe him as a bright student who was soft-spoken and an introvert. Nobody seems to know much about him, since he had joined the IIT only about two months back.

Asked about Mehtab's academic performance, IIT registrar Sanjeev Kashalkar told reporters, "Well, he was an average student, but for some reason did not take one of the five first-semester papers, for which the concerned teacher had told him that he could take the back-paper in that subject."

Neither the director nor other academic staff at IIT considers the possibility of Mehtab's failure to take one paper as the cause behind the suicide.

Asked to comment on the unabated suicides on the campus, IIT director shot back, "Well, I am sure that is not happening just here; it is a much wider issue and for whatever reason the tendency is growing. Take the case of IIT – Chennai, there have been three suicides in five months."

Sharat Pradhan in Lucknow