New Delhi: Fathima Latheef, a first-year Master’s student at IIT-Madras who committed suicide last week, was subjected to religious discrimination, her family has alleged.
The body of Fathima, a humanities student, was found hanging from a ceiling fan in her hostel room on 9 November.
On that day, her father Abdul Latheef told ThePrint, Fathima had said she was going to study and so would be switching off her phone. But sometime later, he said, he received a call from her hostel warden informing him of the suicide.
Abdul said Fathima had not left any suicide note but her sister had found notes on her phone in which some professors were blamed for “harassing” her, which could have pushed her to take the extreme step.
Fathima, her father claimed, had named professors Sudarshan Padmanabhan and Milind Brahme, both teachers in her the department. While Padmanabhan is a professor of Philosophy and has a double PhD, Brahme is a JNU alumnus.
‘Need fair probe’
Abdul alleged that Fathima was being harassed because she was a Muslim and said the family wanted authorities to “probe the case from this angle”.
“She was trying to get her paper re-evaluated but her professors were not cooperating with her. Instead, they harassed and humiliated her,” Abdul said.
Several students at IIT-Madras, who have been on a protest over Fathima’s suicide, have also demanded a fair probe in the case.
“We want the administration to conduct a fair probe into the incident. Fathima’s family has raised some serious allegations and they should be looked into. We also want the administration to check incidents of suicide on campus,” said an IIT-M student who is a part of the protest.
The student added that there have been four cases of suicide on the campus since December last year and the students were worried about it.
Fathima’s family has appealed to Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan to ensure a fair probe into her suicide.
In a brief statement, IIT Madras expressed deep grief and sadness over Fathima’s death.
“IIT Madras faculty, staff and students extend their deepest condolences to the family, friends and other near and dear ones of the deceased student. This is indeed an irreparable loss to the institute and the family. May her soul rest in peace.”
Why news media is in crisis & How you can fix it
You are reading this because you value good, intelligent and objective journalism. We thank you for your time and your trust.
You also know that the news media is facing an unprecedented crisis. It is likely that you are also hearing of the brutal layoffs and pay-cuts hitting the industry. There are many reasons why the media’s economics is broken. But a big one is that good people are not yet paying enough for good journalism.
We have a newsroom filled with talented young reporters. We also have the country’s most robust editing and fact-checking team, finest news photographers and video professionals. We are building India’s most ambitious and energetic news platform. And have just turned three.
At ThePrint, we invest in quality journalists. We pay them fairly. As you may have noticed, we do not flinch from spending whatever it takes to make sure our reporters reach where the story is.
This comes with a sizable cost. For us to continue bringing quality journalism, we need readers like you to pay for it.
If you think we deserve your support, do join us in this endeavour to strengthen fair, free, courageous and questioning journalism. Please click on the link below. Your support will define ThePrint’s future.