Students call off fast after IIT Madras agrees to order internal probe into death of Fathima


CHENNAI: The indefinite fast launched by two students of Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Madras on the campus demanding an internal inquiry into the mysterious death of Fathima Lathif, the first year student of Humanities and Social Welfare, was called off on Tuesday following assurances by the authorities to consider their demands.


Azhar Moideen, a final year humanities student, and Justin Joseph, pursuing Phd in the same stream, had launched the fast on Monday. Besides the internal probe, the students had also demanded establishment of a panel of external experts to examine the mental well-being of the students and a grievance redressal cells in all departments.

The strike was ended after IIT dean promised to take a final decision on their main demand following the return of director from Delhi, where he was summoned by the Human Resources Development Ministry to explain the circumstances leading to the alleged suicide of Fathima. The other two demands were accepted earlier by the administration.

Fathima had allegedly committed suicide by hanging herself from a ceiling fan in her hostel room. She was found dead in her room on November 9. Prof Sudarshan Padmanabhan, who was identified by Fathima in her suicide note, and two other teachers were questioned by Chennai Crime Branch police on Monday.

Reports quoting sources close to the investigating team said that they will summon the teachers again if there is any contradiction in their statements.

The prestigious institute has been rocked by protests after the family members of Fathima unearthed the suicide note alleging harassment from her teachers as the main cause for her extreme step. Father of the deceased student Abdul Latheef had last week called on Chief Minister K Palaniswami and the Tamil Nadu Director General of Police, seeking a fair, expeditious probe.

Political parties, including DMK, too staged protests over the incident and the case, handled by the local police initially, has been transferred to the Central Crime Branch.

Image Credit: News Minute

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