Nearly two months after Darshan Solanki, a Dalit student of the Indian Institute of Technology-Bombay allegedly died by suicide, the Mumbai Police has arrested a fellow student identified as Armaan Iqbal Khatri on charges of abetment to suicide.
Arman Iqbal Khatri, an 18-year-old boy from Vile Parle, was named in the suicide note SIT had found inside the hostel room of the deceased student on March 26. In the suicide note, Darshan blamed Khatri for driving him to his death.
Though the probe is still on, IIT-B students who knew Arman recognise the latter as incapable of a crime.
According to some of Armaan’s batch mates, Arman and Darshan had become good friends, though Arman generally was a quiet student.“They both were close and Armaan knew that Darshan was going through depression due to his low grades, in fact, Darshan took the drastic step, Arman was most affected,” said a friend of Aarman who did not wish to be named.
Darshan’s father Mr Ramesh Solanki had spoken to The Free Press Journal earlier that SIT's claim about Darshan having fought with Arman for three days, on 9, 10, and 11 February after which Darshan met an unfortunate demise on February 12 cannot be the sole reason for the tragedy. “We have not been told anything about the reason behind this fight, but the SIT stated that Armaan threatened Darshan with a cutter in the hostel room. I believe that a single boy cannot be the only reason behind Darshan's demise. This goes much deeper,” Mr. Ramesh told this newspaper today.
However, the claim about the knife is not entirely true, said the friends. “Apart from having silly fights common between friends, it never got serious and Aarman never pointed a knife at him.”
On February 12, 2023, Darshan was reported to have jumped from the seventh floor of his hostel building at IIT-B and his body was found by the security guards who saw him in a pool of blood. Darshan from Ahmedabadwas a first-year student of the B.Tech course.
Initially, after the incident, the Powai police station registered an Accidental Death Report (ADR). However, after the suicide note was found, a new direction was given to the investigation.
The Ambedkar Periyar Phule Study Circle (APPSC) of IIT-Bombay was the first to raise the issue of Darshan’s death as a case of caste discrimination and called it “institutional murder” - a charge which was denied by the institute.
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