Three girl students of SVS Yoga Medical College at Kallakurichi near Villupuram in Tamil Nadu committed suicide on Saturday evening accusing the administration of charging excess fees and “torture”, and blaming college chairman Vasuki Subramanian for their death.
The bodies of the three were found in a well near the college. The girls were doing naturopathy courses.
Sources said while Subramanian was absconding, her son Sukhi Verma had been arrested. The college has long seen protests over excess fees, including suicide bids in September and October over the matter.
In a two-page suicide note that all three of them — E Saranya and V Priyanka, both 18, and T Monisha, 19 — signed, the girls said students had filed several complaints against Subramanian, to no avail. Citing “torture” by the management, the girls hoped that their suicide would finally force authorities to take action against the chairman.
Villupuram range DIG Anisa Husain said a team headed by the district SP had started a probe.
In the suicide note, the girls talked about the administration charging “excess fees”, “around Rs 6 lakh”, and never giving the bill. Despite the money charged from them, the girls said, the college lacked proper classes or teachers and there was “nothing to learn”. “After our suicide, she (Subramanian) will say our character was bad. Please don’t believe her but probe and take action against her,” says the note.
Confirming that the girls had blamed the management and named Subramanian in their note, a senior college officer said that apart from protesting against the fees, students had been demanding more facilities.
The college is located on the Chennai-Salem main road and affiliated to Tamil Nadu’s Dr MGR Medical University. The university is listed as a ‘State-Public university’, run by a “private un-aided” management and maintained by the Ministry of Human Resource Development’s All India Survey of Higher Education programme, as per the ministry website.
SVS Yoga Medical College was earlier in the news in 2010 after the Madras High Court castigated the college management for demanding fees from a first-year student for the whole five and a half years for issuing a transfer certificate.
In 2012, the Madras HC dismissed its petition for a fresh inspection of its homoeopathy college after it was denied permission citing deficiencies. “Another writ petition was filed by a student in 2012 in the Madras HC complaining that Chairman Vasuki had threatened her for the decision to discontinue a course. The court directed it to hand over her certificates,” said a police officer.
In September 7 last year, there were major protests by students against the college management before the Villupuram collectorate. The protest that began as a hunger strike turned violent when a few students tried to self-immolate themselves on September 14. When the district administration still stayed away, six students ate rat poison in October and had to be admitted to hospital.
“Only benefit they received from that failed suicide pact was shifting of their hostel to another building. Still the government or authorities concerned turned a blind eye to the violations of the management,” said a former teacher of the college.