Kerala biotechnology student found dead at IIT Kharagpur

While police said the death was likely to be a case of suicide based on preliminary inquiry, students have reportedly raised suspicions about how the body of Devika, who used to live in A block, was found in the B block.
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A 21-year-old student from Kerala was found dead at the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) at Kharagpur in West Bengal on Monday, June 17. Students found the body of Devika Pillai, a fourth-year biotechnology student, at the Sarojini Naidu/Indira Gandhi hall at around 7 am. The cause of the death is yet to be ascertained.

A statement issued by IIT Kharagpur said Devika had returned to the campus recently, and that police are conducting a thorough investigation. “She was the social and cultural general secretary of Sarojini Naidu/Indira Gandhi Hall. The institute is fully cooperating with the authorities and is devastated by this tragic event,” it read, adding that Devika was doing a summer internship under a professor from the department of bioscience and biotechnology. According to reports, the body has been sent to Kharagpur sub-divisional hospital for autopsy.

While police said the death was likely to be a case of suicide based on preliminary inquiry, students have reportedly raised suspicions about how the body of Devika, who used to live in A block, was found in the B block. They further said that students were barred from accessing the roof of the hostel.  

Devika’s death comes just days after it was found that the death of a third-year mechanical engineering student at the institute in October 2022 was a murder. Faizan Ahmed who hailed from Assam, was found to be stabbed and shot to death. His body was discovered in a partially decomposed state from the campus in October 2022. The university initially claimed it was a case of suicide until the Calcutta High Court ordered a second autopsy, which revealed it was a murder. Earlier in October 2023, electrical engineering student K Kiran Chandra had allegedly died by suicide on the campus.

If you are aware of anyone facing mental health issues or feeling suicidal, please provide help. Here are some helpline numbers of suicide prevention organisations that can offer emotional support to individuals and families.

Tamil Nadu

State health department's suicide helpline: 104

Sneha Suicide Prevention Centre - 044-24640050 (listed as the sole suicide prevention helpline in Tamil Nadu)

Andhra Pradesh

Life Suicide Prevention: 78930 78930

Roshni: 9166202000, 9127848584

Karnataka

Sahai (24-hour): 080 65000111, 080 65000222

Kerala

Maithri: 0484 2540530

Chaithram: 0484 2361161

Both are 24-hour helpline numbers.

Telangana

State government's suicide prevention (tollfree): 104

Roshni: 040 66202000, 6620200

SEVA: 09441778290, 040 27504682 (between 9 am and 7 pm)

Aasara offers support to individuals and families during an emotional crisis, for those dealing with mental health issues and suicidal ideation, and to those undergoing trauma after the suicide of a loved one.    

24x7 Helpline: 9820466726 

Click here for working helplines across India.

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