Engineering graduate Bandaru Srinivas' suicide comes on the heels of Friday’s clashes on the campus

The academic year began on a frightening note for Osmania University students, who were alarmed by another “suicide” on the campus on Saturday.

The suicide by hanging by an engineering graduate, Bandaru Srinivas, coming on the heels of Friday’s clashes on the campus between police and Telangana student activists has sent shockwaves among students.

After a spate of suicides, fear has set in, forcing inmates to stay indoors after midnight.

“We are moving in groups even if we have to go out. We are also cautioning others who are unsuspecting,” says Raghavender, a student.

Many suspect “foul play” behind the suicides and say that there has been a discernible pattern behind such deaths on the campus. Srinivas’ was the fourth body found hanging from a tree on the campus in the last seven months.

In November, 2012, the body of Santosh, a student, was found hanging from a tree in front of the Arts College. After months of lull, an MBA graduate, Ramesh, was found hanging near the psychology department on May 1 this year. On May 20 again, another body, this time of an electrician, Bharat Goud, was found behind the Law College, hanging from a tree.

While suicide notes expressing solidarity with the T-movement were found on three bodies, Ramesh’s death remained a mystery. Learning from past experiences, police now scour the campus early in the morning and clear the bodies before news spreads.

“All the dead were either outsiders or non-borders. It is really frightening and beyond one’s belief that so many outsiders are arriving on the campus to commit suicide, that too using the same method,” says Avaneesh, a Ph.D. scholar.

Triggering further fear is the fact that all bodies were found in close vicinity, and invariably during the early hours.

“Students gather around in good numbers in these areas, as the library is usually open up to 12 a.m. Some stay beyond this time, studying in the light thrown by street lamps. And there will be the crowd returning after second shows. All these deaths happened after 2 a.m. when the area became absolutely isolated,” notes Ratnam, another scholar.

A faculty member too, on condition of anonymity, expressed doubts about the pattern of alleged suicides, and said police should investigate each case thoroughly to get to the real facts. “What prompted an electrician to come all the way to the campus to commit suicide? It needs to be seriously investigated,” he said.

A police check-point on either side of the university road will help in controlling the movement of outsiders within the campus, students said.

(Names changed on request)

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