It has been 222 days since the suicide of Sachin Kumar Jain, a 31-year-old PhD scholar from the Mechanical Department of one of the premier institutes of India, IIT (Indian Institute of Technology) Madras. The student had allegedly died by suicide on March 31, 2023. An Instagram handle with the username @voice_of_students_iitm posted an image that says, “Justice Delayed is Justice Denied” with the hashtag #RevealTheReport.
Why the demand to reveal the report?
On March 31, Sachin was reportedly found by his former roommate in his house and had posted a story on his Whatsapp status saying, “I am sorry, Iam not good enough.” This gave rise to the suspicion that Sachin was mistreated and humiliated by his PhD guide, who had allegedly driven him to take his own life. Sachin’s friends had further alleged mistreatment which seemed to have begun when Sachin took two days of absence to attend a conference without informing his guide last year.
On April 25, Tuesday, an email was sent to the students by the Registrar that an inquiry committee had been constituted to look into the matter. On August 14, a report with the findings and recommendations was submitted by the committee to the director of the institute, Prof V Kamakoti, but the students’ body alleged that although an external committee was constituted to maintain transparency in the process, the students are still kept in the dark.
The appointment of G Thilakavathi, former Director General of Police (DGP) of Tamil Nadu as the Student Ombuds, to oversee and address the concerns related to student grievances, safety and disciplinary matters came into being on November 8, 2023. The Instagram handle raised this point and questioned, “If IITM administration is so keen on the well-being of the students, where are the actions against the faculty responsible for Sachin’s death? Why are they hiding the investigation report?”
To date, the institution has registered four suicide cases so far.