IIT-M Suicide: Probe Team to Question Student's Kin, Friends in Kerala Over Alleged Harassment by Faculty

CNN-News18

Chennai: A team of Central Crime Branch has left for Kerala in connection with Fathima Latheef’s suicide to question her family and friends on Wednesday.

Fathima was a student of humanities at the Indian Institute of Technology, Madras and was found dead in her hostel room on November 9. She had mentioned names of three professors in her suicide note.

The probe team will question Fathima’s sister and mother to get more information on what Fathima had shared with them on the harassment she faced for days before she ended her life, sources said.

A special team, headed by Additional Commissioner of Police C Easwaramurthy, on Monday and Tuesday questioned the three IIT Madras professors mentioned by Fathima in her suicide note.

However, the probe team is awaiting cyber security report on the authenticity of the suicide note found in Fathima’s phone.

Her sister, Aysha, had said that Fathima’s phone was untouched till she approached the police station a day after her death. Aysha claimed that she found Fathima’s suicide note blaming faculty members only after she switched it on for charging.

Meanwhile, the two IIT-M students who launched an indefinite hunger strike on Monday called off the strike saying that IIT management had given them assurance to consider their demands.

“On day two of the hunger strike, the Student Legislative Council and the General Student Body have received assurances from the IIT Madras administration regarding two of the three demands we had raised with the director. These include our demands for an external committee to be set as recommended by the SLC resolution from last semester and setting up of grievance redressal mechanisms in every department to deal with issues of harassment, discrimination, etc apart from academic grievances,” said Azhar Moideen,one of the protesters.

While the family awaits justice for their daughter, various student groups staged a protest at Valluvar Kottam in Chennai demanding the arrest of the professor who figured in Fathima’s note.

An FIR was filed on the day when Fathima committed suicide and stated that Fathima was homesick and depressed. Her family, however, demanded a fair probe into the case and a high-level investigation is underway.