Student suicide: DMK holds protest, father meets TN CM

Source: PTI | By I.G. Bhatkali | Published on 16th November 2019, 12:43 PM | National News |

Chennai: As political parties including the DMK staged protests on Friday pressing their demand for "a transparent" probe into the suicide of an IIT Madras student, the institution said it is extending full cooperation to the police investigation, transferred to the Central Crime Branch.

As opposition parties stepped up pressure, the student's father, who has earlier alleged that a faculty was responsible for his daughter's extreme action, met Tamil Nadu Chief Minister K Palaniswami and the state police chief here and demanded a fair probe and said they promised necessary action.

A day after the case related to the suicide of first year Humanities student Fathima Latheef, who ended her life in the hostel on November 9, was transferred to the Central Crime Branch, police officials visited the campus in connection with the investigation.

Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, meanwhile, said the state DGP Loknath Behra had contacted his counterpart in Tamil Nadu and also the Chennai city police commissioner.

DMK cadres held placards embossed with images of Fathima and slogans like "besiege IIT protest; seeking justice for Fathima Latheef."

Several others including women activists waved placards that alleged, "it is not a suicide, it is institutional murder" and demanded justice for the student.

A possee of police personnel was deployed in front of the main entrance of the IIT Madras in view of the protests.

The IIT Madras, in a statement, here asserted it was committed to fair play and said the social media trolling against it, the faculty members and students and "trial by the media, even before the conclusion of the police investigation, is gravely demoralising..."

Also, it "tarnished the reputation," of one of the finest institutes in the country, it said adding "...our humble appeal to all concerned is not to initiate or spread any rumours..." and let the inquiry be completed.

The students, faculty, staff, and residents were deeply saddened and "extremely perturbed by the unfortunate and untimely demise of our student, Fathima Lathief, and the events that unfolded thereafter."

As soon as the incident came to its knowledge, police was informed immediately and they were being extended full cooperation, the prestigious institution said.

The statement said the institute continued to mourn the loss of the "promising young student" and assured continuation of all efforts to ensure the physical and mental well-being of its students, faculty and staff.

Speaking to reporters after meeting Palaniswami and DGP J K Tripathy, Fathima's father Abdul Latheef said the family wanted a fair probe.

"Tamil Nadu CM Palaniswami has assured us that the culprits would be arrested soon. I am satisfied with his assurance. The probe started yesterday and let's see the developments," father of Fathima, he said adding the DGP as well has assured action.

Latheef claimed the police had behaved very badly with his family and the Kollam Mayor when they were here to receive his daughter's body.

Maintaining that his daughter was "number one in studies," he alleged she faced harassment by the faculty member and had once described him as a "bad person".

Latheef raised several questions and expressed suspicion over a number of aspects related to his daugther's death.

He said his daugther was found weeping in the campus canteen before her death on November 9 and she was comforted by an unknown woman. Authorities should find out who she was.

Expressing suspicion that both the faculty and local police had tried to hush up matters, Lathef wanted the police to examine his daughter's mobile phone in the presence of his family members as it could hold information related to her death.

He claimed "no one from the IIT Madras spoke to him or his family or visited the morgue following Fathima's death."

Vijayan, in a Facebook post, said the state police chief has already contacted the Tamil Nadu DGP and the Chennai city police commissioner. "They have informed us that the probe is done by the Central crime branch under the Chennai city police commissioner," he said.

The family had earlier met Vijayan seeking his intervention.

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