Another Dalit Scholar Commits Suicide, This Time from JNU

In his last post on Facebook, Rajini said, “When equality is denied everything is denied”.

A 27-year-old student Dalit student of Jawaharlal Nehru University, Muthu Krishnan, who was known as Krish Rajini to friends on Facebook, allegedly committed suicide by hanging himself, on Monday, at his friend’s place in Munirka Vihar.

A PCR call was received at 5:05 pm on Monday, saying that a person had locked himself in a room at a house in Munirka Vihar, said police. When the police forced open the door, he was found hanging from the ceiling fan.

He had gone to his friend’s house in the afternoon to have food. He said he wanted to sleep and went to a room and locked himself inside. Later, on getting no response, his friends called the police.

Krishnan was an MPhil 2nd semester student at Centre for Historical studies, and was from Salem, Tamil Nadu. No suicide note has been found, police said. Krishnan was depressed over personal issues for some time, another senior police officer added.

But his last post on Facebook from 10 March, bemoaned the “denial of equality” to the “marginals” in educational institutions. There is also a reference to the JNU administration’s attempts to thwart protests in the campus’ Freedom Square.

Krish Rajini’s Facebook postWhen equality is denied everything is denied... There is no Equality in M.phil/phd Admission, there is no equality in Viva – voce, there is only denial of equality, denying Prof. Sukhadeo Thorat recommendation, denying Students protest places in Ad – block, denying the education of the Marginals (sic).

A committee under the chairmanship of Professor Sukhadeo Thorat had made strong recommendations to uplift the status of marginalised students and teachers in 2011. It was the first committee ever to table a report on caste discrimination in educational institutions.

The Thorat committee had recommended providing coaching classes to improve fluency in English, and to improve social skills and communication by providing coaching classes through equal opportunity cells. This in turn was supposed to help students qualify for the NET exam – which is an eligibility test for those who wish to become professors.

Additionally, the report also recommended providing research grants and additional capacity development and training to teachers belonging to scheduled castes.

Krishnan was a student of University of Hyderabad and was in good terms with Dalit scholar Rohith Vemula (who had committed suicide following alleged discrimination in the university), as is apparent from his blog called DALITerature.

In a post, he wrote of his six meetings with Rohith, and his mother after Rohith’s suicide. Photographs suggest he was an active member of the protests that took place in the aftermath of Rohith’s suicide.

In the post, he also wrote, “ I try to spend all the time reading and learning to write in English.”

In an earlier post, Rajini spoke about the several times he had tried getting admission in JNU. The 27-year-old said he worked menial jobs, “saved” and “begged”, and eventually became the only one from Salem district to get selected in the central university.

The New Indian Express quoted Dontha Prashanth, Rohith’s friend from the University of Hyderabad, saying that Muthu was a person who could always be relied on.

He was one person who always participated in all activities and protests. He even stood by us when we were boycotted by the University.

(With inputs from PTI, The News Indian Express)