Published: 17th September 2021
Another IISc student ends life on campus; third suicide in 2021 in the NIRF's top ranked university
BS Research scholar was under depression; students blame ‘stressful environment’, ‘harassment’ from principal investigators
In a third suicide this year at the premier Indian Institute of Science in Bengaluru, a 21-year-old student of Bachelor of Science in Research ended his life by hanging in his room on Tuesday night. He was said to be suffering from depression due to personal issues, and was under treatment for some time.
This is the second incident in a week after a PhD student ended his life on September 12 by consuming chemicals in his room. He was also under depression. A senior police officer said a girl, also a student at IISc, attempted suicide the very next day. Some alert staff members found her just in time and shifted her to a nearby hospital for emergency treatment. She was discharged and is undergoing counselling.
The first suicide this year in IISc was on March 2, when a 34-year-old PhD student ended his life. He too was under depression. The deceased in the Tuesday night case was Rishabh Mishram, a native of Rajasthan, who was in fourth semester of BS Research.
A senior police officer said he was found hanging in his room around 10.30pm. The IISc management alerted Sadashivnagar police, who rushed to the spot and shifted the body for postmortem examination and alerted his parents. The police found no suicide note at the spot, and based on a complaint by the management, a case of unnatural death was registered and investigations are on.
Rishabh’s father, Raj Ratan Mishram, however, made a statement before police without making allegations against anyone. Raj Ratan said his son was suffering from depression for a few months, and was under treatment at National Institute of Mental Health & Neuro Sciences (NIMHANS). Raj Ratan and his wife had moved to Bengaluru from Rajasthan two months ago to take their son for regular counselling and treatment to NIMHANS, and had rented a house in Whitefield.
IISc students told The New Indian Express that disorientation from discontinuity of laboratory work due to lockdown and isolation, COVID-19 restrictions and lack of freedom to express feelings about stressful environment to the relevant authorities, have been pushing students into depression and despair.
A PhD scholar from IISc, on condition of anonymity, said there are some principal investigators who harass students by delaying completion of PhD, even after publication of a paper. “They force students to repeat experiments again and again, till you get the result they want. This is pushing students into depression more than the issue of funding," said a PhD scholar.
“There is no redressal mechanism in place, where students can grade their faculty members — it would seem that once they get the post of professors, they are unlovable and have little chance of being affected by complaints,” he added.
Meanwhile, an IISc statement said: “The mental health and well-being of our students and community members are of critical importance, especially given the prevailing COVID-19 situation.” It made a request to all IISc community members to seek help from the 24x7 emergency call service for anyone needing to talk to a mental health professional (Call 080-47113444).
SUICIDES IN 2021
March 2: 34-year-old PhD student Ranadeer Kumar from Bihar, final-year student studying nano technology, was living on campus for a few years. He was under depression.
September 12: 23-year-old PhD student Rajashri Mukerjee consumed chemicals in his room. The incident came to light the next day. Police recovered a suicide note, saying he was under depression. Mukerjee, from Kolkata in West Bengal, was under treatment at NIMHANS