A day after a final-year PhD student of IIT-Delhi allegedly committed suicide by hanging herself from the ceiling fan of her hostel room, the varsity director said she was doing “very well” academically, and that the suicide seems to be due to some “personal problems”. The deceased, Manjula Devak, a student at the Department of Civil Engineering, was married and used to live in Narmada hostel. IIT Delhi will organise a condolence meeting for the deceased on Thursday.
In a Facebook post, IIT Delhi Director V Ramgopal Rao said that “depression is like any other disease” and urged those suffering from it to seek medical attention. “There will always be ups and downs in life. It happens to every one of us… If you feel low all the time… seek help,” he wrote. Rao called Devak “a young girl with a bright future”, and said the incident was “very very unfortunate”.
Speaking to The Indian Express, he said: “Her suicide had nothing to do with academics. I spoke with her supervisor, and on the academic front everything was smooth. In fact, she was applying for faculty positions in IITs and NITs. She would have submitted her thesis by next month. She was going through personal problems but academically she was doing very well. She had done her MTech from IIT Delhi and was the topper in her batch.” He claimed Devak had even shared her problems with her supervisor.
Rao said the institute had undertaken several initiatives to help those facing depression, including starting a drive where “we’ve asked students to let us know about other students who may need help… However, in cases of personal problems, it becomes very difficult”. Additional DCP (south) Chinmoy Biswal said, “We are waiting for the SDM’s report. We will investigate accordingly.”