Barely two weeks after she joined college, Manasa Merugu (21), a first-year M.Tech student of IIT Madras, committed suicide in her hostel room on campus on Tuesday afternoon. Police said family problems led her to take the extreme step.
Manasa, who was a B.Tech graduate from a private college in Ananthapur, Andhra Pradesh, was pursuing a specialisation in Chemical Engineering. The student was a resident of Sarayu Extension on the IIT-M campus. She hails from Ramagundam in Karim Nagar district of Andhra Pradesh. Records at IIT show the 21-year-old was married to a man called Srinivas from Andhra Pradesh.
Police sources said the incident would have happened around 2.30 p.m. and they were informed at 4.30 p.m.
“We found out when the carpenter had gone to the room and she did not open the door. He had to climb up the wall and saw through the window, after which we broke open the door,” said the hostel watchman.
M.Tech classes in the institute started on August 1.
A helper at the women’s hostels said, “She had gone home for the last three days. When she came back on Tuesday at 7 a.m., she looked a little upset and did not go to classes. I went to clean the room in the morning and she said she will leave in a while. None of her roommates were in the room then,” she said.
A senior professor in IIT said the suicide could not have been due to stress or academic rigour because the course had just started.
This is the second suicide this year on the IIT-M campus. According to data provided by the Ministry of Human Resource Development, the IITs reported two suicides in 2010, four in 2009 and five in 2008. In 2011, the figure was seven, three of which were by IIT-M students.
News Photographer assaulted
The scene outside the hostel where the IIT student committed suicide turned ugly after Albin Mathew, a news photographer of The New Indian Express, was assaulted by an IIT professor and security guards while he was taking shots of the building.
A senior professor, along with a few guards, assaulted Mathew and took him away to the administrative office where he was held captive till the police arrived. Senior IIT staff expressed regret for the incident. One of the staff members said, the attack was not intentional and the men were only trying to prevent the lensman from taking shots of the female students.
The injured Mathew lodged a complaint with the Kotturpuram police. He was later taken to the Government Royapettah for treatment.
The Madras Reporters' Guild condemned the assault of the photographer and demanded action by the IIT management and the police against those involved in it.