Published: 13th December 2018
TISS student commits suicide, blames #MeToo tainted Prof for making him depressed
The professor was also mentioned in one of the #metoo campaign statuses and the parents of the deceased had also complained about the professor previously
A postgraduate student studying at TISS committed suicide by jumping off a building in Powai on Monday. A professor has been booked for abetting the suicide. The 24-year-old student had stated in his suicide note that he had fallen into depression after the professor had told him there was no scope for engineering students.
The student, Sanket Tambe's mother also told the police that her son had taken the extreme step because of the harassment he faced on the campus. The mother's statement said that they had submitted a letter to the institute about the professor threatening their son and subsequently he fell into depression. "He stopped going to the institute and began to study at home," her statement read.
The professor, P Vijaykumar is the Chairperson of the Centre for Social and Organisational Leadership, School of Management and Labour Studies and had allegedly been named during the #metoo campaign. According to a source the professor allegedly calls women students to meet him in his room and sent them messages on LinkedIn.
Injustice: Sanket Tambe's mother told police that they had submitted a letter complaining about the professor's behaviour
After completing an engineering and a law degree, Sanket had joined TISS for a Masters in Organisational Development, Change and Leadership but had stopped attending classes in October because of the professor.
Sanket and his parents lived on the first floor of a building at the Rambaug locality in Powai. His father is a judicial officer while his mother is a doctor. Tambe was found dead by a security guard in the building after he heard a loud thud.
In the aftermath of his death, other students have also called out the campus's discriminatory attitude towards them and their failure to solve any of the problems that are brought to them. In a post of Facebook, a student names Shefali Saini spoke about how she had contemplated hurting herself several times to bring attention to the discriminatory attitude of the administration. "One of these times was when the Registrar at TISS simply refused to sign my JRF papers and demanded that I submit an apology to him. I asked him and other officials many times to give me this in writing but they never did. They never made a record on paper that they exercised such a power over me that my only source of livelihood and sustenance was cut down for months in order to make me bend in front of them," she wrote.
She goes on to say that she approached several authorities to get help but no one helped her. Eventually, she said she finally gave in and submitted a forced apology. Speaking about Sanket's suicide, she said that the institute cannot get away with such an incident, "It is needed that the institute is held accountable for the lack of providing students with spaces where students are treated fairly, that they have a place to go and complaint against the authority as well and that there should be offices which are not all partisan to the administration."
Another student also wrote a post about the incident and said she felt that the TISS campus was not welcoming of students from the SC and ST communities. She said many of them were treated like they were being given an education out of charity after they slashed scholarships.. The institute had also all apparently asked her to pay 82,000 rupees upfront and she had no way to do so, "I was really very depressed. I have other family issues to deal with too. Now after I heard of Sanket's death, I cry uncontrollably. Not just Sanket, this community has killed the confidence and happiness of many students," she said. Over the last few months, several students have come out to speak about the hostility they face on campus.
With regard to Sanket's death, the administration has claimed they will provide full co-operation to the police. An FIR under section 306 (abetment to suicide) has been registered with the police. The professor is on indefinite leave.