LSR college student commits suicide in Telangana due to financial crunch; student unions' protest in Delhi

A college student died allegedly by suicide at her residence in Telangana's Shadnagar, owing to the family's poor financial condition, her parents said on Monday.

As per the father, the deceased, Aishwarya Reddy, was studying at Delhi's prestigious Lady Shri Ram (LSR) College, and was worried about her family not being able to support her education due to which she had taken the extreme step on November 2, last Monday.

"I am blessed with two daughters, my elder daughter Aishwarya Reddy, aged 19 years, was an IAS aspirant and was taking IAS coaching in Delhi at LSR, due to poor financial conditions she was upset. She required a big amount to go to Delhi as I did not have that much amount I informed her that I will get the amount through a loan due to which she was distraught. On November 2 at around 8:30 pm she went to her room for reading and committed suicide by hanging herself with a saree," Srinivas Reddy, the father, told ANI here.

Srinivas' wife, and late Aishwarya's mother, Sumathi further explained the incident by saying, "My daughter committed suicide on November 2, at our residence. We were all present at the front room of the house, she went inside, without our knowledge she hung herself. She was going through mental stress due to financial conditions, she had to go to Delhi for her studies, all her friends started going already." "We were trying to take a loan, but as we could not arrange money she went into depression. The situation from which my bright daughter was going through must not happen to any other girl or daughter," she added.

Meanwhile, Sridhar Kumar, Inspector of Police, Shadnagar Police Station told ANI, "On November 3, 2020, we received a petition from Srinivas Reddy, father of the deceased (Aishwarya). The deceased wrote a letter, in which she mentioned that nobody should be held responsible for her death. She also stated that she was taking this step because of the expenses and hassles she was making her parents face. She did not want to be a burden to her parents and she could not live without reading." "As per the letter she had been thinking of taking this extreme step since the past many days. She desired to get 'Inspire' scholarship at least for one year. In the letter she has also asked for forgiveness for taking the step, and that she could not be a good daughter. This was written in ten sentences on a notebook before she died by suicide," he added.

The police official further informed that a case has been registered under the relevant sections of the Criminal Procedure Code.

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Monday accused the Modi government of destroying countless homes due to the 'deliberate' lockdown and demonetisation.

He tagged a news report of a 19-year-old Telangana girl who committed suicide citing financial stress on the family due to the lockdown.

"My condolences to the family members of the girl in this very sad moment. The BJP government destroyed countless homes due to the deliberate demonetisation and countrywide lockdown. This is the truth," Gandhi said on Twitter.

Students and women groups staged protests in Delhi on Monday, demanding justice for Aishwarya.

While members of the Congress-affiliated National Students' Union of India (NSUI) protested outside the residence of Union Education Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal "Nishank", the Left-affiliated All India Students 'Association (AISA) staged an agitation outside the Delhi University's Arts Faculty.

According to the police, seven NSUI members were detained for a few hours and a case was registered against them under the Disaster Management Act.

"Scholarships are to reward a student's academic achievement and educational prowess. Be it while starting your career or studying in high school to grow new abilities, receiving a scholarship is a prominent achievement. The Indian education system begets issues in it. One of the major issues is the increase in the cost of college, school and university fees," NSUI national secretary Lokesh Chugh said.

"The student from Telangana committed suicide after being denied scholarship for over a year by the government. She had written to the administration about the problems she was facing but unfortunately, received no response from the authorities. This is just a recent example of how imperative scholarships are for students. When the government delays the provision of funds to students, it puts them and their families under immense pressure," he added.

LSR principal Suman Sharma, however, denied that the student had reached out to the college authorities.

"We have a counsellor at the college to help students if they are facing any challenges emotionally or mentally. However, nobody knew about her state of mind. It is unfortunate, we wish she had reached out either to her teachers or the counsellor or anybody in the college," she said.

In a statement, the AISA said, "We pledge to stand and struggle in solidarity with all the forces dedicated to deliver justice to the family and the student community. We demand that all the un-disbursed fellowships and scholarships be disbursed immediately to both the grieving family and the student community." The All India Democratic Women's Association (AIDWA) said "in a country where the gross enrolment ratio of girl students into higher educational institutions shows a pathetically skewed figure, a girl such as the LSR student, who struggled to reach Delhi with the dream for education, has been killed".

"We believe that the present government ruled by the BJP not only has been criminal in its actions towards Indian students and citizens, but has eroded all principles of justice and equality. It is consistently trampling upon the lives and livelihood of poor people in the country. It is therefore important to rise up against the policies and actions of the government," it said.

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