NEW DELHI – Several students at the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Madras, on Friday staged a protest demanding justice for Fathima Latheef, a student of the same institute, who was found hanging from the ceiling fan in her hostel room on November 9.
On Tuesday, Abdul Latheef, the father of the student, held a press conference and sought a fair probe, expressing concerns over the alleged influence of the IIT authorities.
Abdul Latheef alleged that Fathima was being harassed because she was a Muslim and said the family wanted authorities to “probe the case from this angle”.
Fathima Latheef was a first-year Master’s student of Humanities and Development Studies (Integrated Course) at IIT Madras. She hailed from Kollam district of Kerala and was staying at the Sarayu hostel on the campus.
Fathima’s case is the fifth suicide at IIT-M in the last one year.
DMK President MK Stalin on Thursday expressed shock over the suicide of IIT student and demanded time-bound, honest, independent and transparent probe in the matter.
“It is extremely shocking that Fathima had committed suicide due to discrimination. Allegations of Fatima’s mother has cast a cloud on the secular credentials of Tamil Nadu. This is a worrying trend. This is a shame,” the DMK leader said in a statement while adding that it is time we avoid saffronisation of educational institutions.
The Chennai Police Commissioner on Thursday transferred the suicide case to the Central Crime Branch for further investigation.
Manitheneya Makkal Katchi (MMK) leader M.H. Jawahirullah demanded a probe by Crime Branch Crime Investigation Department (CBCID) into the suicide of Fathima Latheef, a bright first year student of the Indian Institute of Technology Madras (IIT-M).
In a statement issued here, Jawahirullah said that he had spoken to Abdul Latheef, the girl’s father, who alleged that his daughter was subjected to religious discrimination by a faculty member.
According to Jawahirullah, Fathima’s father had told him that once the professor had given his daughter three marks less and the same was corrected after it was brought to the notice of the head of the department.
Her father has given a memorandum to Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, requesting Kerala government’s intervention in the probe into his daughter’s death.
An official of IIT-M’s Humanities and Social Sciences department said the head of the department was not available for comments.