Doctoral student tells bus crew that she had taken poison
She was on a bus to Cuddalore
The bus crew saw her vomiting and took her to hospital
BANGALORE: Indian Institute of Science saw its second suicide this year with Chitra R. (32), a doctorate student, consuming poison on Monday night.
She was one of the 14 researchers working on Non-Equilibrium Processing of Nanomaterial at IISc.’s Materials Engineering Department.
The police said Chitra was a native of Cuddalore in Tamil Nadu. Around 10 p.m. on Monday, she boarded a KSRTC bus at the Kempegowda Bus Station to go to her hometown.
When the bus reached Hosur Road, the conductor noticed Chitra convulsed with vomiting.
The driver and the conductor rushed her to a nearby private hospital which, citing lack of facility, directed them to Victoria Hospital where she died. “She is suspected to have consumed poison and we are awaiting the autopsy report,” Deputy Commissioner of Police (West) K.V. Sharathchandra told The Hindu.
He said the Upparpet police had registered a case of unnatural death and were ascertaining the reason behind the suicide.
Shock over death
The news came as a shock to Chitra’s relatives, classmates and professors. At the Victoria Hospital mortuary where they congregated, most of them were too distraught to talk.
“It’s a shock. We don’t know why she took her life,” said one of them, wishing to remain anonymous. “She was cool… we never felt she was stressed in any way,” he said.
IISc. Chief Security Officer M.R. Chandrashekar said Chitra had admitted to having consumed poison to the conductor of the bus she had boarded. “She threw up repeatedly.
“The conductor offered her water,” he said and added that she had scribbled the mobile phone numbers of three persons on the palm of her hand, including that of her father Ramalingam.
Chitra was one of four children. Her father is a retired college lecturer in Cuddalore. She was a resident student at the IISc campus for the last four years.
Her nephew Senthil said she was serious about her research work, having secured several scholarships during her academic life, putting off marriage till the completion of her doctoral thesis.
The family last saw her when she celebrated Deepavali along with them in Cuddalore, he said.
Atul Chokshi, Professor in the department, said they had lost a good student. She was pursuing her doctorate under the guidance of K. Chattopadhyay, chairman of the department.
Associate Professor Ashok Raichur said Chitra had secured good grades in both M.Sc. and during her doctoral course.
“She was diligent and was friendly with everyone,” he said. To a question, he said there appeared to be no form of academic pressure on Chitra.