Karnataka: 4 die in 10 months at PES varsity, protestors seek government probe

The student was reportedly denied entry during end semester exams, and was allegedly told that he would not be allowed to sit for the college placements.
Parents of the deceased, volunteers and students protest against the university’s ‘harrassment’ of students, at Freedom Park on Saturday
Parents of the deceased, volunteers and students protest against the university’s ‘harrassment’ of students, at Freedom Park on Saturday Photo | Nagaraja Gadekal

BENGALURU: Large gathering of students, parents, and activists, assembled at Freedom Park to protest against the administration of PES University, following the recent suicide of a third-year engineering student of the university.

With the recent suicide incident of a 21-year-old B.Tech student, the total number of suicides reported from PES University has risen to four, in the last ten months. The student was reportedly denied entry during end semester exams, and was allegedly told that he would not be allowed to sit for the college placements.

The protest began at 10 am on Saturday and continued for over three hours. Protestors were seen holding placards with slogans such as ‘Four is a Pattern’, ‘Say No to PES’ and ‘Criminalise Student Harassment’, condemning such cases, and stressing for urgent reforms in the Karnataka Education Act, 1983.

Protestors called for an official government investigation into the university, and urged CM Siddaramaiah, Deputy Chief Minister DK Shivakumar, and Central Education Minister Dharmendra Pradhan to identify the cause, and pattern behind the suicides.

Activist and social worker Dushyant Dubey, said, “Nine months ago, we all gathered here for the suicide of a single student - Aditya Prabhu. It was then that we realized that changes were needed within the university administration.

“And yet, today we find ourselves with three more deaths from the same university. We have sent multiple memorandums to the authorities, but no action has been taken against the university. Even three of the professors charged in connection with Aditya Prabhu’s suicide have not even been suspended,” Dubey added.

Protestors also urged Karnataka Higher Education Minister MC Sudhakar to advocate for amendments to the Karnataka Education Act, 1983, and to criminalise the harassment of students by higher education authorities, akin to measures against ragging.

Calling the university as a ‘suicide campus’, Asha Prabhu, Aditya Prabhu’s mother also questioned the non-suspension of the three faculty members who were named in the chargesheet in connection with her son’s suicide case.

When TNIE contacted PES University’s Vice-Chancellor Dr Suryaprasad J, he denied the allegations, and asserted that the students who committed suicide must have been dealing with their personal issues. He reiterated that the university has a strong counselling faculty and mentorship program that students can use.

Campus suicides

July 2023: Aditya Prabhu, first-year B.Tech student

Dec 2023: Surya M Achar, third-year B.Tech student

January 2024: Vignesh K, first-year BBA student

May 14: Rahul Carasala, third-year B.Tech student

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