Mumbai: Several IIT Bombay students held an open-to-all gathering to remember Darshan Solanki on March 21, 2023, which would have been his nineteenth birthday. In an unfortunate incident last month, Darshan, an 18-year-old BTech student, took his own life on the IIT Bombay campus. Several allegations of caste discrimination at IIT entered the narrative after Darshan’s death.
“We are meeting tonight to make a resolution,” said a Ph.D. student at IIT Bombay. “We will resolve to look beyond caste, gender, and identity, and call out discrimination when we see it. We hope to make IIT Bombay a safe space because we really do not want to face these cases anymore,” she added. The students met near the Main Building at 09:30 pm in memory of Darshan.
Darshan with his mother at IIT Bombay |
Students ask Deputy CM to intervene
Students from IIT Bombay's Ambedkar Periyar Phule Study Circle (APPSC) also wrote an email to the Deputy Chief Minister (Dy CM) of Maharashtra, Devendra Fadnavis, on Darshan’s birthday.
The IIT-B collective requested Dy CM Devendra Fadnavis to ensure that a fresh First Information Report (FIR) is filed in Darshan's case.
'Till now, the SIT based their investigation on the ADR filed by the police. The refusal of the SIT to base their investigation on FIR is a failure to recognize the rights of the family to register a complaint in respect of cognizable offense as provided under the law.
We fear this angle of the investigation will reiterate IIT Bombay's Interim Report where they put blame on Darshan's merit, ignoring possible atrocities that he might have endured,' stated the email sent by IIT-B APPSC.
Parents mourn death of teenage son
Back in Gujarat, Darshan’s relatives visited his family in Uttamnagar to lend them support in these tough times. “We prepared all of Darshan’s favourite dishes and gave them to the young boys who live around our house. All these days later, we are still struggling to believe that our son actually committed suicide. We don’t know how he met his tragic death, but we really wish to find out what drove our boy to take such an extreme step,” said Ramesh Solanki, Darshan’s father.
Darshan celebrating his previous birthdays with his family in Uttamnagar |
Last week, on March 16, Ramesh and Tarlika Solanki visited the Powai Police Station from Ahmedabad to file a complaint alleging that caste discrimination led to their son's death.
This request, however, was denied by the Powai police since the probe has been handed over to a Special Investigation Team (SIT) formed by the Maharashtra government.
Probe carries on in Darshan Solanki's case
The parents visited the police station after a committee constituted by IIT-B released a report suggesting that academic pressures were the primary reason behind Darshan's suicide. Several student groups, alumni, and even IIT professors publicly rubbished these remarks.
40 days after the student's death, the forensic and SIT investigations continue. IIT Bombay’s investigative panel is yet to release final reports on its probe as well.
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