NEWS
13/11/2019 5:37 PM IST

Parents Of IIT-Madras Student Who Died By Suicide Blame Harassment By Faculty

Fathima Latheef's father has called her death "a repeat of Rohit Vemula".

Fathima Latheef
Fathima Latheef

Parents of Fathima Latheef, the IIT-Madras student who died by suicide, on Tuesday alleged harassment by faculty was the cause of their daughter’s death and asked the Kerala government to intervene in the case, Malayala Manorama reported. They have submitted a petition to CM Pinarayi Vijayan to this effect.

The 18-year-old, a first-year student in the humanities stream at IIT-M, was found hanging from a ceiling fan in her hostel room, police told PTI on Saturday.

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At a press conference on Tuesday, Fathima’s father Abdul Latheef said his wife had been trying to reach their daughter on the phone and also through various phone numbers of her friends on Saturday.  She, however, found out about her daughter’s death through the hostel warden later, The NewsMinute reported.

Abdul said Fathima’s phone had not been included as evidence by the police.

Fathima’s sister Aysha told TNM that phone was lying at the police station when the family arrived. “They had not even switched it on. I took it and when I removed the lock screen, I saw this note on the screensaver,” she told the news site. 

The screensaver had a message asking them to check the notes on her tablet, where they found evidence of harassment by the faculty, Abdul said. It mentioned the names of three professors, he said.

“This is a repeat of Rohit Vemula. I possess all records to prove that my daughter was being harassed by the department for the past 28 days. She has named faculty members in her notes. I do not know what sort of harassment she was facing there. Whether it was mental, or otherwise, I will fight till my last breath to get bring those who harassed her to justice,” Abdul told TNM.

In its statement on Saturday, IIT Madras expressed grief and sadness over the student’s death and said, “IIT Madras faculty, staff and students extend their deepest condolences to the family, friends and other near and dear ones of the deceased student. This is indeed an irreparable loss to the institute and the family. May her soul rest in peace.”

If you or someone you know needs help, mail icall@tiss.edu or dial 022-25521111 (Monday-Saturday, 8am to 10pm) to reach iCall, a psychosocial helpline set up by the Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS).