Death
"The college authorities have not told us anything about the incident. I tried calling them but there was no response,” Ragamonika’s father says.
Image: Rakesh (Left) and Ragamonika (Right)

"I love you and I'll miss you so much," read the last message sent by Ragamonika to her brother Rakesh Reddy.

The fraternal twins from Hyderabad are first year Computer Science students at the Satyabhama University campus in Chennai.

They were writing their semester exams, when the invigilator caught Ragamonika cheating.

“He took her ID card and sent her out of the classroom. She was sent out with an attender, but I don’t know where she was sent,” says Rakesh, standing outside the mortuary at the Royapettah Government hospital in Chennai.

That was the last time Rakesh saw his sister conscious.

After his exam, he found Ragamonika’s message on his mobile: “I love you and I’ll miss you so much.” A worried Rakesh went running to the hostel around 11.15am to meet his sister, but the guard did not allow him inside.

When he explained to them that he was concerned for his sister, and submitted his ID card to them, he was let inside. What he saw inside her room shattered him. Ragamonika was hanging from the ceiling fan in the room.

“One of our classmates also came running in. The warden was informed, and they took her to the hospital inside the campus. I was not allowed in the hospital, but they told me her blood pressure was low,” Rakesh recalls.

After two hours, 18-year-old Ragamonika was declared dead.

Ragamonika’s death lead to major protests in the campus with first year students resorting to violence and arson on Wednesday evening, even as they shouted slogans demanding justice. Police personnel and fire services descended on the Sathyabama University campus to bring the situation under control, and early on Thursday morning, the management declared that the University will be closed till January 3, evacuated the hostels, and postponed the semester exams.

For the family of Ragamonika though, nothing makes sense at this point.

What the family wants to know is where the 18-year-old was taken and who spoke to her after she was sent out of class. With no answers forthcoming from the college, the father says, he has been forced to file a police complaint.

"The college authorities have not told us anything about the incident. I tried calling them but there was no response. My son informed us about the incident," says Ragamonika's father Raja Reddy, who works as the general manager of a private company.

In the wee hours of Thursday, the family went to the Semmenchery police station and filed a complaint against the college. "We were there till 3 am and still no one came from the college. We have filed a complaint for the mismanagement of the situation by the college authorities," says the father.

"We do not want any other student to go through a similar ordeal," says a relative, Narasimhan Rao.

Ragamonika's body will be taken to Nellore in Andhra Pradesh. The post-mortem was conducted at the Royapettah hospital in Chennai.

The father alleges that the authorities should have counselled his daughter. "They should have taken precautions. If they were sending her out, someone should have counselled her or sent someone else along with her. This is unfair. I have lost my daughter," he laments.

"I sent my children to Chennai thinking that they will get a good education and language skills, but now I have lost her forever after 18 years," says the father.

He adds that they should have been informed about the incident in the examination hall. "If they had informed us, we could have counselled her and spoken to her," says Raja Reddy.

However, a spokesperson from the college told TNM that Ragamonika had been sent to a counsellor. “The student was found cheating, the examination cell was immediately informed about it. Then she was sent to a counsellor who motivated her to write the next exam. They also told her that she could write this exam next semester also. She was fined and then sent to the hostel. Later, we had also informed the parents about the incident and they had sent their relatives to the college also. We care about the student and followed all the rules,” he says.

He adds that the college will be shut for the next one week. The holidays were declared from Dec 2 to Jan 2 so the exams that are left could be conducted in January.