Mumbai: On February 12, Sunday, an 18-year-old Btech student jumped off the seventh floor of his hostel building at IIT-Bombay. The deceased was identified as Ahmedabad native Darshan Solanki, a first year student.
IIT-Bombay reported the incident to Darshan's parents who travelled from Uttamnagar (Gujarat) to Mumbai on the same night.
Can't be academic stress, say parents
The student took this extreme step only one day after the institute finished its end semester exams. The police theorised that mounting academic pressure could've been the reason behind the student suicide.
However, these claims were quickly dismissed by Rameshbhai Solanki, Darshan's father, "Darshan has been a bright boy since the beginning, he topped every class he was in. He couldn't have done this because of academic pressure, he always loved to study engineering."
Darshan, who had only spent three months on the campus, was a Btech fresher, from the 2022-26 batch of Chemistry Engineering. His father had already booked a train ticket to Mumbai for Monday, to bring Darshan back home for his month-long semester break which follows the exams.
"We spoke to him nearly an hour on the same day he committed suicide and he seemed perfectly alright. He was a quiet child without many friends but he never told us about any trouble, bullying, or fights at college," said Rameshbhai.
Darshan, the eldest child of the family, had always aimed to get into IIT Bombay and even dropped out for a year to accomplish the same, said his uncle while talking to The FPJ. "We have no idea why he would take such a step and no one is telling us either. If only he would've waited for a day and come back with his father we would've heard him out. It was as simple as telling us that he didn't want to go back," said the uncle. After post-mortem procedures, the family travelled back to Uttamnagar with their child's body on Monday afternoon.
IIT-B forms investigation committee
While IIT-B authorities have constituted a committee to investigate the incident, it also held a condolence meet for Darshan on campus lawns. "The institute's Student Wellness Centre(SWC) has already reached out to all the other students from the same hostel," informed the official spokesperson of IIT-Bombay. Others on campus report that a good amount of first year students have already headed back home for their semester break.
Students, faculty members gathered together to pay their condolences to the student | File
‘Institutional murder', allege student groups
The Ambedkar Periyar Phule Study Circle (APPSC), a study group in IIT Bombay released a notice about the 'Institutional murder of Darshan Solanki. 'We must understand that suicide of a student, a Dalit student in this case, is not a personal/individualized end, but something that is intimately related to the institutional structures that make some of us feel alienated, that fail to accommodate some, hence we call it an institutional murder,' read the statement by APPSC.
The cause behind the student suicide is still being investigated and has not been ascertained. "The student's laptop and mobile phone have been seized and were taken for investigation. The post-mortem report will be furnished within 90 days," informed officials from the Powai Police.
Meanwhile everyone is searching for answers to Darshan’ tragic end. While the grieving parents have left with the body of their son , the IITB authorities are encouraging other students living in the same hostel as Darshan to take up counselling.
IIT-B releases official statement
The institute also released an official statement over the incident and resolved to prevent such cases in the future.
“We have lost one of our first year B.Tech students Mr. Darshan Solanki yesterday. It is a great loss to the family and to the IITB Community. We pray that his family gets the strength to bear this loss. The Institute is with his family at this difficult time. We deeply mourn the tragic loss of Darshan’s life. It is unfortunate that such a loss could not be prevented despite the efforts of the Institute and Student Mentors to support our students. A committee has been constituted to investigate the incident. Today the Institute held a condolence meeting; and observed two minutes of silence in memory of the departed soul. While we cannot change what has already happened, we will further increase our efforts to prevent such events in future,” said an official statement by IIT-B.