A medical student from Andhra Pradesh, who was in the final year of his studies at a university in southern China, committed suicide this week, his friends and Indian officials said on Friday.
Satti Srinivasa Reddy from Pedavarti, a village near Anaparti in East Godavari district, was found dead by staff at Yangzhou University, where he was enrolled as a student in the MBBS programme. Yangzhou is a town located 300 km northwest of Shanghai.
Reddy's death has raised questions about the difficulties faced by Indian medical students in adjusting to life in China, as well as the support available to those in distress.
His death is the second such case in as many years: in 2009, another medical student from Andhra Pradesh, Mamidi Sandeep Chakravarthy, from Srikakulam, took his own life. He was also enrolled at a university in southern China, at Nanjing Southeast University.
There are over 8,000 Indian students enrolled in medical programmes across China. A majority of them are from Andhra Pradesh.
Officials in the local Public Security Bureau, or police authority, in Yangzhou confirmed his death to the Indian Consulate in Shanghai on Thursday afternoon. Indian officials said they were still trying to ascertain the circumstances of his death. No suicide note had been found, as of Friday.
Reddy's friends told officials he had “shown signs of depression” over the past couple of weeks, disappointed by an internship he had taken up at the university.
The immediate concern for Reddy's family members, officials said, was to make arrangements to bring his body to his hometown.
His parents are concerned about the high costs involved. It is understood they are under financial strain, and had cast high hopes on Reddy's medical career.
Indian officials have asked the university to help provide financial assistance. They told Reddy's parents they would also try to arrange funds to cover half the costs.
University staff said Reddy was a good student with good grades.
B.V.S. Bhaskarreports from Rajahmundry:
Reddy's grief-stricken parents are anxiously waiting in Pedaparti village, about 10 km from Anaparti in East Godavari district, for his body to arrive.
Whether the body can be flown to India will depend on the fruition of the efforts of their well-wishers and political leaders. “We have no money to bring back my brother,” said Varalakshmi, Reddy's younger sister.
Reddy's mother fainted on hearing news of his death. A heart patient, she was shifted to a hospital in Anaparti and has not yet returned to normal.
His father Subbi Reddy had nursed the hope that his son would complete the course in another four months. “He spoke to me on Sunday morning saying that university authorities were insisting on payment of money towards house surgeonship. I told him not to worry about money and suddenly I got this message on Monday night that he had committed suicide,” he said.
Meanwhile, Minister of State for Defence M. M. Pallam Raju, and Congress MP from Rajahmundry V. Arun Kumar have spoken to officials of the Indian Embassy in Beijing and the Chinese Embassy in New Delhi seeking their help in bringing back the body.