HYDERABAD/CHENNAI: Just days after writing a post on inequality, 27-year-old Dalit MPhil student at JNU Muthu Krishnan was found having allegedly committed suicide in south Delhi's Munirka area Monday evening.
Muthu, who was known to friends on Facebook as Krish Rajini, was from Salem, Tamil Nadu. He was a student at the University of Hyderabad when fellow Dalit scholar Rohith Vemula committed suicide in January 2016 and had blogged about meeting Rohith and his mother, Radhika.
Police said no suicide note had been found and that it hadn't been found that the alleged suicide was owing to any issues at the university. He is said to have been depressed for some time over some personal issues, police said.
A PCR call was received at 5.05 PM that a person had locked himself in a room at a house in Munirka Vihar, said a senior police officer. On reaching the spot, police forced open the door and a young man was found hanging from the ceiling fan. "He had come to his friends' house this afternoon to have food. He said he wanted to sleep and went to a room and locked himself inside. Later his friends called him out and on getting no response, they called the police," the officer said. Amal PP, JNUSU vice president told Express that Muthu had participated in Holi celebrations on campus on Monday. He said he was tired and left to rest at his friend's place in Munrika Vihar at 1.30 pm. "He sounded sad and depressed. But did not talk much," one of Muthu Krishna's friends from UoH Pallikonta Manikanda who is also a research scholar at JNU, told Express.His friends knocked on the door two hours later and grew suspicious when he did not open the door.
Muthu Krishnan's Facebook post, dated March 10, had ended saying: "When equality is denied everything is denied. There is no Equality in M.Phil/PhD admissions, there is no equality in viva voce, there is only denial of equality, denying Prof. Sukhadeo Thorat recommendation, denying students protest places in Ad block, denying the education of the Marginals." This appears to be a reference to the Ad-Block movement at JNU wherein students and faculty have opposed adoption of a May 2016 UGC notification that changes admission norms for MPhil and PhD students. The procedure followed by JNU in adopting the notification is being challenged in the Delhi High Court.
UoH professor Bittu Kondaiyah says, "He (Muthu Krishnan) was talking about compiling his write-ups and publishing them in the last conversation we had."
Dontha Prashanth from the University of Hyderabad, and friend of Rohith, recalled Muthu as someone who could always be counted on. “He was one person who always participated in all activities and protests. He even stood by us when we were boycotted by the University,” says Prasanth who was pursuing his PhD in Economics at UoH where he had met Muthu, who was doing his MA in History.
Muthu's supervisor and professor Dr Eshwar at UoH said Muthu was committed to Dalit politics and social issues and “not someone who was capable of killing himself”. The professor who was not just Muthu’s mentor but also a confidant says the scholar was ecstatic when he got admission for his PhD at JNU in 2016, on his fourth attempt. “He was a bright student and when he got admission in JNU he was ecstatic and said it was last chance to make a difference,” said the professor, who added that Muthu's family was not well off.
Muthu Krishnan imitating his idol Rajinikanth in the film Kabali. It was shot by his friend Gowtham Uyyala.
This was Muthu Krishnan's first Facebook post after joining JNU:
(with agency inputs)