Public Outrage over 18-Year-Old Student’s Suicide in Kerala

Parents have lot of expectations from their children when it comes to education, choosing a career, and all other important decisions of their lives. Jishnu Pranoy’s parents also had many dreams and expectations from their 18-year-old son, all of which abruptly shattered after hearing the news that Jishnu killed himself following the mental harassment he had to face after he was accused of cheating in the university exam.

Jishnu was a first-year student of Computer Science at the Nehru College of Engineering and Research Centre, Pampady, Thrissur. The incidents that compelled him to take such a drastic step, according to his friends were – Jishnu being caught turning around while the examination was going on by an invigilator named Praveen, and being accused of copying.

The invigilator scolded Jishnu and asked him to strike off the answer. He was also threatened to be debarred from the examination, which meant he could not attend the examination for the next three years. Despite repeatedly claiming that he had not cheated, Mr. Praveen asked him to go to the vice-principal’s office. Later in the evening, Jishnu’s friends discovered he was missing from the roll call session in the hostel and found him hanging in the bathroom. He had also cut his veins before hanging himself.

Lamenting about Jishnu’s death, one of the students at the hostel, under the condition of anonymity, said, “He did all this as if he was taking his revenge on someone and wanted to not exist so that no one could harass him anymore. He fought by giving up and defeated the people who were trying to torture him. Jishnu is no more, and his murderers will have to pay for his life. None of them even sent a condolence for his death and not even one faculty member was present at his house during the cremation.”

The students also say that Jishnu was alive when they saw him hanging and could have been saved if the college authorities had shown some interest in taking him to the hospital. Rather than admitting him immediately to the nearest hospital and providing first aid, he was taken to a hospital that was at a distance of more than 10 km from the hostel. The authorities did not wait at the hospital and Jishnu’s friends had to be with his body till 1 a.m.

The entire issue triggered a strong protest among the students of Nehru College and in the State at large and people have come out in public to display their anger and are terming his death an “institutional murder”.

A Facebook page called Justice for Jishnu has also been created. Many alumni from the college are sharing their experiences while in the college and the structure of functioning of  the Nehru Group of Institutions.

An alumnus of Nehru Arts and Science College, Coimbatore, under the condition of anonymity, said, “ Nehru Group of institutions as a whole works under the supervision of some ‘gundas’ and the directors of the college Krishna Das and Krishna Kumar just want good results from the college as it is only a business for them, the revenue from which they used to build P.K. Das Institute of Medical Sciences, a multi-speciality hospital and medical college in Palakkad. Such incidents have occurred in the college earlier also but this is the first time such a thing has gained this much momentum. This should be a warning for everyone.”

Jishnu’s family has also come up with the allegation that their child was manhandled and brutally tortured by the college authorities. They claim that there were marks on his body that indicated the same. Students also have backed this statement and say that the PRO of the college is the one who tortures the students.

The problem has escalated to a level where the student political associations have come out to jointly protest the negligence and arrogant behaviour of the college authorities.

Commenting on the same, SFI State president Jaick C. Thomas, said, “ It is our responsibility to ensure that no other student suffers like Jishnu and that his death pays off. All these incidents are a clear example of suppressing the democratic rights of students in the campus to express their views and protest against what is wrong. If there would have been a student association such a fate wouldn’t have haunted Jishnu’s family. We have collectively decided to strongly protest and various marches are being organised by SFI to Nehru College as well as other private colleges demanding a student association. An online application is also circulating seeking the Chief Minister’s interference in the issue.”

The students are protesting in order to get some of their conditions sanctioned by the authorities, which includes a compensation amount for Jishnu’s family, the authorities accepting what they have done and bearing the consequences of the same.

The Kerala Education Department has also taken up the issue and a commission has been formed that has registered a Suo Moto case against the college and the authorities. Various celebrities and troll groups have also openly criticised the incident through social media.

Main photograph credit Facebook.

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