Kottayam Student Sradha Satheesh’s Suicide: An Account of What Happened

Sradha Satheesh, a second-year Food Technology student of Amal Jyothi College of Engineering (Kanjirappally in the Kottayam district of Kerala), was found hanging in the hostel inside the campus on 2nd June 2023 around 9 pm. The students of the same college and the family of the deceased have accused the management as responsible for Sradha Satheesh’s suicide.

According to sources, the college authority confiscated Sradha’s phone, alleging that she used it in the college lab. Subsequently, Sradha was summoned to meet the Head of the Department, after which Sradha is said to have hinted at suicide to her peers. The same day, after her hostel mates had left for dinner, Sradha hanged herself. Though she was rushed to the hospital, her life could not be saved. 

Following her demise, Sradha’s family has accused the institution of serious crimes, including mental torture leading to her suicide and deliberate delay in providing medical assistance. Moreover, while reporting to the medical staff at the hospital, the college authority is said to have attempted to mitigate the gravity of the situation by concealing the suicide attempt with a fabricated case of fainting, as reported by Asianet News.

Had they responsibly reported the actual situation, it would have facilitated the medical staff in taking more appropriate measures, and Sradha might have survived, according to her relative. Minister for Higher Education and Social Justice Dr. R. Bindu has ordered an immediate probe into the matter and has instructed Higher Education Principal Secretary Ishita Roy to submit a detailed report. The college has been closed indefinitely, and the hostel inmates were directed to vacate it. However, the protesting students have refused to vacate the hostel and clearly conveyed that they will continue the protest until justice is delivered to the late Sradha.

Sharis Mohammed, the Malayalam movie Jana Gana Mana writer and a former student of Amal Jyothi College of Engineering, posted a video on his Instagram account expressing his condolences to the late Sradha and revealing his experience at the institution. Being a former student who had to go through similar circumstances of mental torture fourteen years ago, he confirms the accusations made against the institution regarding mental torture to be true in this video.

Sharis also mentions the nearly autocratic management of the institution that denies even the most basic rights of the students and tortures them to the point of committing suicide. He questions the intruding presence of the institution in the personal life of students and challenges the management to accept an independent probe wherein the students’ experiences at the institution be recorded in their absence. Sharis prefers to deem Sradha’s death a clear instance of “institutional murder” and expresses his deep grief over her demise. He concludes, “If given a retake in life, I will never ever join Amal Jyothi College of Engineering.”

Responding to this issue, “While entrusting the college authority with their children in view of their bright future, it’s imperative to ensure that due consideration is given to their mental well-being along with their safety,” writes actor Shane Nigam on a Facebook post. The actor also emphasizes the gravity of the situation and appeals to the people of Kerala as well as the concerned authorities to listen to the grievances of the protesting students and to express their solidarity. 

Sradha Satheesh’s suicide is the most recent in the series of student deaths, which points to the flaws in the education system and the torture inflicted on students in the name of education, particularly in privately owned institutions. The lack of efficient measures for ensuring students’ safety and mental well-being is another grave issue that requires immediate addressing in this regard. 

Suicide prevention helpline number: DISHA- 0471-2552056, 1056 (via The Hindu)

Parvathy Shylajan
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