A second-year student of Mathematics Hons from Rangareddy District, Telangana studying in LSR or Lady Shri Ram College, Delhi committed suicide on November 3, 2020, due to financial pressure.
“Not a suicide, but an institutional murder,” alleged, the SFI members of the Lady Shri Ram college.
“The student had taken a loan to study in which her house had been mortgaged and in the pandemic, the financial strain intensified. She was also affected by the sudden decision by the LSR administration to revoke hostels of all continuing students and to only give it to the first years from now on. She had been asked during an ongoing pandemic to vacate her hostel. The College administration should answer about steps that they take regardless of its impact.” said @njuttavi__ via Instagram, General Secretary of LSR Students’ Union.
It’s not a suicide, but an institutional murder#justiceforaishwarya #releasescholarships pic.twitter.com/THVtZPAx4G
— SFI LSR (@LsrSfi) November 8, 2020
Members held the LSR administration and Delhi University responsible for the death of a second-year student after her INSPIRE scholarship granted by the Union Ministry of Science and Technology was delayed over several months.
“SFI LSR sends our deepest condolences to her family and loved ones. We resolve to firmly stand in solidarity with her family in this time of need and to demand justice for her, and others who are being forced to die by suicide due to the authorities’ disgraceful apathy. We do not perceive this as a simple case of suicide, but as an institutional murder by the extremely apathetic university and governmental institutions, which are structurally exclusionary. This systemic exclusion must end,” said SFI convener Unnimaya in a press release.
In line with their allegations, members made the following demands for the benefit of those students who depended upon scholarship concessions for education:
- Immediate distribution of all fellowships owed to deserving students.
- Immediate disbursal of all pending scholarship amounts to the aggrieved family as well as compensation by the Government of India.
- Resignation of the Minister of Science and Technology for failing to execute his sworn-in responsibilities.
- Creation of a committee to understand and handle such issues and prevent suicides due to institutional negligence.
According to the SFI press release, the deceased was a bright student and state topper in the Higher Secondary Certificate (HSC) examinations. The girl looked forward to the government scholarship that would lessen the burden of education on her parents, who mortgaged their house to ensure that she can pursue her studies at DU. Her excellent performance in the HSC examinations won her the scholarship. However, its consequent delay since March resulted in extreme financial pressure.
“This is a colossal failure of the Ministry. They have put the future of many students in jeopardy,” said SFI Co-convener Lekshmi.
A student from LSR who chose to stay anonymous said, “It is very sad and unfair what has happened and the worst part is that the management is not even owning up to what they have done. They have let all of us down multiple times, whether it was OBE and now this, this is the limit. I mean, I can not even imagine the pain and helplessness Aishwarya must have felt. LSR, DU, and the entire ‘education system’ needs to be held accountable.”
Students also said that they were being forced to pay the examinations fee without any mention of compensation for the same collection in 2019.
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Featured Image Credits: The Logical Indian