Periyar University in Salem has declared a two-day holiday after students held a demonstration over the suicide of a 23-year-old postgraduate student in the campus. And while police claim that she could have killed herself over a failed relationship, students have refused to take their word for it.
T Niveditha, the deceased, was pursuing her Masters in Botany and was in her second year. She belongs to Dharmapuri district and her father Tirumalai works in a co-operative sugar factory. Her body was discovered in her room on Saturday night. According to the police, she was alone in her room for 10 days as her roommates were away for research work. She was last seen on Friday evening by her college mates.
When the police arrived at the spot to remove her body and take it to the hospital, students refused to let them proceed. They alleged that Niveditha's suicide could be linked to a complaint of harassment given by another female student from her department against a professor only weeks ago. It was only after the police promised a fair investigation, that the body was allowed to be taken to the government hospital. However, speaking to TNM, an investigating officer says that there is no foul play.
"We found a suicide note where she says she loved a man. We are looking into whether she took this decision over a failed relationship," says the officer. "There is no name on the note or any other details," he adds.
A professor from Periyar University who spoke to TNM on the condition of anonymity points out that the police version has gaping holes.
"Even if she were to write a suicide note, won't it at least specify the name of the boy she was in a relationship with?" he asks. "Even the parents of the girl are yet to be shown this suicide note which they claim to have with them. When they came to campus the parents told us very clearly that there was no mention of any relationship from their daughter. There needs to be further investigation in this matter but the police do not seem interested in doing this," he adds.
Meanwhile, Higher Education Minister KP Anbalagan has promised a thorough police investigation and has stated that the reason for suicide will be unearthed.