Following the death of three second year students of SVS College of Naturopathy and Yoga Sciences in Villupuram, various political parties, students forums and human rights' organizations are asking for judicial probe into their deaths. Their limbs were reportedly found tied when their bodies were taken out of a well near the college, according to the police.
Meanwhile, parents of the other college students will be meeting the Vice Chancellor of MGR University to ask justice for those girls. One of the main concerns being aired now is that there are no regulatory bodies for keeping check on naturopathy and yoga colleges in the country.
On January 23, three second year students, T Monisha (19) from Chennai, E Saranya (19) of Kancheepuram district and V Priyanka (19) of Tiruvarur, were found dead in a well near their college.
A police officer told TOI, "The hands of the three girls were tied when their bodies were recovered from the well. We suspect they might have tied themselves before jumping into the well to commit suicide. We have not received post-mortem reports so far and we can ascertain the cause of death only after studying the reports."
Police claim that it was a suicide but parents and students insist that it was a murder. The parents said that the deceased girls were part of the protests against college so they were murdered by the college authorities.
DMK President Karunanidhi also called for a judicial probe on the death of the girls as their hands were tied and injuries were found on their bodies. Moreover, the AAP party is protesting against government officials who provided affiliation to the college. They also asked for an investigation by CBI as they suspect the girls were tortured and murdered.
On the other hand, parents of the first year students of the SVS Naturopathy and Yoga Sciences College have decided to meet the Vice Chancellor S Geethalakshmi of MGR Medical University seeking justice for the death of the three girls.
MGR Medical University had denied affiliation to the college for the year 2015-2016. The parents have also decided to file a petition questioning the future of their children.
It is also being said that the owner of SVS college Vasuki Subramanian also joined the Bachelor's degree course in the same college with the first batch but gave up due to examination fear.
Mishaa Vel, one of the students who was in the first batch said that there were about 10 students and it included the owner Vasuki Subramanian. She discontinued the studies as she feared examinations and was heading the college wiht only a diploma in medical lab technology. She also said that Vasuki used to collect Rs. 10,000 per student to make them pass in exams. Many had paid the amount but failed in the exams.
Even after 25 years of advent of naturopathy and yoga science course, there is a lack of a central regulatory board to monitor naturopathy and yoga science colleges, reported in TOI. After the recent protest over the death of the girls, it came to light that such colleges were being given permission for more than two decades without any association or council to oversee their academic and administrative functioning.
Officials told that institutions like SVS College for Naturopathy and Yoga Science are in many cases like money making machines that have few or no qualified faculty member with poor infrastructure.
A task force constituted by Centre submitted a report to the Ayush ministry in September 2015 had recommended to set up a national board to check the functioning of colleges offering the bachelors of naturopathy and yoga science, according to TOI. None of those recommendations were included by the task force.
The recommendations included setting up of a national board for formulation of policies in yoga and naturopathy. They also emphasized on regulation of yoga and naturopathy education to maintain uniform quality of educational standards and stop the growth of fake institutions. They also asked for a multi-disciplinary committee to check the progress of the board.
In total, there are about 16 colleges which offered this courses in which, five of these are in Tamil Nadu.