The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has taken a very serious view of the alleged rampant caste discrimination against Dalit students in various educational institutions in the country, which led to 18 such students committing suicide in the last four years. The Commission issued a notice to the Secretary of the Union Ministry of Human Resource Development seeking a report on the incidents within four weeks.

It also referred to a media report, which alleged fierce caste based discrimination and violence against Dalit students in the Patna University hostel earlier this year.

The NHRC said it also received a complaint from a non-government organisation — Ahmedabad-based Navsarjan Trust — which, quoting media reports, said 18 Dalit students committed suicides during the last four years in premier educational institutions including the Indian Institute of Technology at Mumbai and Kanpur, Indian Institute of Science in Bangalore and All-India Institute of Medical Sciences in New Delhi.

The NHRC said the news report, if true, reflected widespread prevalence of discrimination towards Dalits in the educational institutions driving them to take the extreme step.

The State had the responsibility and duty to ensure that an atmosphere was created in the educational institutions wherein everyone, irrespective of the caste, creed or religion, could pursue studies.