14 Deaths reported in IIT Guwahati in 5 Years, Highest among 23 IITs
The Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Guwahati has recorded the highest number of suicides and accidental deaths across all IITs in the country, reveals data shared by Human Resource Development (HRD) Minister, Ramesh Pokhriyal, in response to questions raised on the issue of student suicide in the Parliament.
Pokhriyal stated that of the 23 premier Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) in India, 12 have had 50 cases of suicide in the past 5 years.
The highest number of student suicides was recorded at IIT Guwahati at 14. IIT Bombay saw 7 student deaths, IIT Delhi saw 4, IIT Kanpur 1, IIT Kharagpur 5, IIT Madras 7, IIT Roorkee 2, IIT BHU 1, IIT Hyderabad 5, IIT Bhubaneshwar 2, IIT Jammu 1 and IIT Dhanbad saw 1 student death.
Additionally, 10 student suicides have been reported at the 20 Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs) in the last five years, said the government in the same reply.
Each day, about six students commit suicide due to academic failure in India. And there are many such students at the premier institutes of IITs and IIMs.
In a recent incident in IIT Guwahati, an exchange student from Japan committed suicide on November 21.
"He was supposed to return to his parent university on November 30 after completion of the exchange program. The police found him hanging from the ventilator in the bathroom," informed the public relations officer of IIT Guwahati.
The IIT-G authorities have informed the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) and Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) about the tragedy so that the family in the student's home country could be intimated about the tragedy.
Earlier, on January 7 this year, a B Tech student from Andhra Pradesh who was studying in the 4th semester committed suicide in IIT-G.
Similarly, last year, an 18 year old mechanical engineering student from Karnataka was also found hanging from the ceiling fan of her hostel room in IIT Guwahati. A brief suicide note was also found in her room which read "Engineering sucks."
Replying to a question on the measures taken by the ministry on complaints regarding mental harassment, Pokhriyal said, "Systems are in place in IITs to enquire and take action in all complaints from students in IIT campuses, which includes Student Grievance Cell, Disciplinary Action Committee, and Counseling Centers etc."
Government chalks out counseling plan for educational institutes
In India, a person commits suicide every 40 seconds. And India has the highest student suicide rate with nearly 38,000 students committing suicide since 2015. The country witnesses nearly 28% of global suicides despite accounting for 18% of the population worldwide.
To curb the growing number of suicides, the government now wants all institutions to have wellness centers.
The Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) has laid out a counseling plan for all the Indian Institutes of Technology and other higher educational institutes. The government is also considering associating with more than 300 counselors including private partners via online mechanism.
It should be mentioned that IIT Guwahati has four counselors for around 6,000 students, according to its public relations officer.
“Our efforts are always there to make students not fall into such a state that they take aggressive steps such as suicide. We have counselors present inside the campus to help children dealing with depression or any other problems,” Labanu Konwar, PRO, IIT Guwahati told G Plus.
He added that out of the 14 deaths reported in Guwahati, only two have been confirmed to be cases of suicide while six deaths have resulted due to natural or accidental reasons; the remaining six are still undergoing investigation.