IIT Bombay suicide: Darshan was murdered because he was Dalit, claims family

Congress MLA and Dalit leader Jignesh Mevani demanded an investigation by a Special Investigation Team (SIT) and compensation of 50 lakh to compensation for the victim's family.

Published: 16th February 2023 08:58 PM  |   Last Updated: 16th February 2023 08:58 PM   |  A+A-

IIT Bombay  ( File | Photo)

IIT Bombay ( File | Photo)

Express News Service

AHMEDABAD: The tragic death of a first-year B-tech student, Darshan Solanki, has sparked widespread outrage. Darshan, who hails from Ahmedabad, allegedly died by suicide at the Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay (IIT-B) campus on Sunday.

However, Darshan's relatives in Ahmedabad suspect that he was murdered by his classmates, and did not die by suicide.

His family claimed that he was very intelligent and got into IIT Bombay after clearing the Joint Entrance Examination (JEE) with flying colours. But being from a Dalit family caused him a lot of trouble during his studies. The victim's family also claimed that some people were feeling troubled since his admission. 

Darshan, a first-year B-tech student, allegedly jumped from the 7th floor of the Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay (IIT-B) campus on February 12 around 1.30 p.m. On the same day, at 2.20 p.m., his father was summoned to the campus.

Local police are investing the incident as a case of accidental death. Meanwhile, the family suspects foul play in circumstances that led to the victim's death. 

Rameshbhai, Darshan Solanki's father, told the media tearily that "I spoke to him an hour earlier, it was my niece's birthday and he wished her. I was supposed to fly to Bombay that night and bring him home the next day. He was ecstatic and eager to spend time with his family. There was no hint of disappointment, hurt, or sadness in his voice, leading us to believe he would take such drastic measures. My son is not the type to do this."

Further, Rameshbhai alleged that his son's post-mortem was carried out without the family's consent, even before they reached campus.

Having lost his son, Rameshbhai added, "There are more Darshans who are struggling and I want justice for my son so that they do not suffer. No parent should have to lose a child due to ragging or caste-based harassment."

ALSO READ | Student suicide: IIT-Bombay rejects charges of caste bias in institute

Meanwhile, speaking to the local media, Darshan's aunt Divya said, "He (Darshan) told us that students' behaviour towards them changed if they knew they were SC/ST students."

"He also mentioned a group of SC/ST students at IIT-Bombay were asking him to keep his caste a secret so that he would not be victimized or discriminated against. Darshan informed me that the people studying there had disliked our caste and claimed that Dalit students are studying for free," she added.

Congress MLA and Dalit leader Jignesh Mevani visited the deceased's relatives in Ahmedabad on Thursday and urged PM Modi to visit Gujarat and meet the victim's family. He also demanded the Maharashtra government set up a Special Investigation Team (SIT) and investigate this incident as the family suspected foul play.

"After the 2016 Una flogging incident, PM Modi stated that before you beat my Dalit brothers, you must first beat me. Now the Prime Minister should visit; I appeal to the Bhupendra Patel administration who must also assist the afflicted Dalit family, and provide a compensation of 50 lakh to the victim's family," said Mevani.

This is not the first instance of caste-based harassment involving Dalit students from Gujarat.

On Friday, 10 February, a Dalit student in Rajkot alleged that his classmates beat him because of his caste, and a case has been filed against four students.

Darshit Makwana, a student of Marwadi University Information Technology, filed a complaint at the Kuvadva police station on Friday. He alleged that on Thursday afternoon, Suraj Narodia, Nandkumar Gami, Purav, and another unknown student kicked and beat him ruthlessly, leaving him unconscious due to which he was rushed to the hospital for treatment.

Makwana also said that six months ago, the accused students had taunted him because he is from a scheduled caste. They claimed that he obtained free admission to the college and is not financially stable to study there.

(If you are having suicidal thoughts, or are worried about a friend or need emotional support, someone is always there to listen. Call Sneha Foundation - 04424640050 (available 24x7) or iCall, the Tata Institute of Social Sciences' helpline - 02225521111, which is available Monday to Saturday from 8 am to 10 pm.)


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