Four days after IIT Madras student Fathima Latheef's death, Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) president MK Stalin demanded a "fair, transparent and independent probe" into the alleged suicide. According to NDTV, Stalin said that a 'time-bound' investigation should held.
Chennai Police Commissioner AK Viswanathan on Thursday visited the spot of the alleged suicide and said that he spoke to several people, reported ANI. He said that the case has been now transferred to the central crime branch; a team led by the Additional Commissioner will conduct the investigation considering the sensitivity of the case.
Chennai Police Commissioner AK Viswanathan on IIT Madras student Fathima Latheef suicide case: A team will be formed which will be headed by Additional Commissioner and few senior officers to give a better focus and attention considering the sensitivity of the case. https://t.co/6tYz6LEDdw
" ANI (@ANI) November 14, 2019
According to The News Minute, Campus Front of India (CFI), a student organisation of People Front of India, on Thursday conducted protests outside the IIT Madras gates, demanding justice for Fathima. Meanwhile, the Congress youth wing was also seen protesting outside the campus gate.
Those in power are trying to deny justice in the case of the tragic death of IIT-Madras student Fathima Lathif.@TN_PYC President @Hassan_tnpyc & other @IYC poltiical activists took to the streets to demand #JusticeForFathima.
IYC stands in solidarity with the aggrieved family. pic.twitter.com/4ckLBvIMF0
" Youth Congress (@IYC) November 14, 2019
Fathima, who was a first-year undergraduate student in the humanities stream, reportedly committed suicide by hanging herself from a ceiling fan, Chennai Police said.
Her family met Kerala chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Tuesday and sought a fair police probe into the circumstances leading to her death. Fathima's father Abdul Latheef, who is working in Saudi Arabia for the past 25 years, also met Vijayan at the assembly complex in Thiruvananthapuram.
The family was assured by the chief minister that the matter would be taken up with Tamil Nadu chief minister K Palaniswami as a state's issue, Latheef later told reporters at Kollam. Memoranda have been sent to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, HRD Minister, TN chief minister, DGP, National Human Rights Commission seeking a proper and fair probe, he said.
Abdul, who has also sent petitions to the prime minister seeking justice, referred to a note purportedly found in Fathima's cellphone which names one of the teachers. "The note names a professor and stated that he [name withheld] is the cause of my death," Lathif told The Indian Express. Her mobile phone has not been returned to the family, he said and alleged that the Tamil Nadu police was trying to torpedo the case.
Umakant Dash, Professor and Head of HSS Department told The NewsMinute, that the institute was unaware of the existence of a suicide note. "We are cooperating with the police investigations and the police have not discussed any suicide note (with us)," he said.
Fathima's family stated that she was a brilliant student. Abdul said she was among the top scoring students in her class. He rubbished reports that she had taken the extreme step because she was concerned about her academic performance. The eldest of his three daughters, Fathima's suicide has shocked the family.
Latheef said his daughter had acquired the first rank in the All India IIT entrance examination and got admission in Chennai in July this year. She had visited her home at Kollam on 1 October and had returned on 8 October. When her mother tried to contact her on 8 November, she spoke to her and said she would switch off the phone as she was preparing for her first semester examinations. That was the last conversation Fathima had with her mother, Latheef said.
On Saturday, her phone was still switched off when her mother tried to contact Fathima, following which she contacted Fathima's friend and asked her to check on her daughter. Later, she was informed by the hostel warden that Fathima had committed suicide, Latheef said.
In a brief statement on Saturday, IIT Madras had expressed deep grief and sadness over the student's death. "IIT Madras faculty, staff and students extend their deepest condolences to the family, friends and other near and dear ones of the deceased student. This is indeed an irreparable loss to the institute and the family. May her soul rest in peace."
With inputs from agencies