A 24-year-old student from Afghanistan who was pursuing Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) at the Som-Lalit Institute of Business Administration (SLIBA) allegedly hanged himself from a tree outside the Gujarat University hostel on Wednesday.
Ahmed Fakirjat Shekib from Kabul was an Indian Council of Cultural Relations (ICCR) scholar from 2015-18 as a part of Gujarat University’s Study Abroad Programme (SAP) under Indian Council of Cultural Relations (ICCR) and Educational Consultants India Limited (EdCIL) scholarships.
His body was found hanging from an Ashoka tree nearly 100 metres outside the hostel’s main gate. His friends and other foreign students from Afghanistan told The Indian Express that he took the extreme step under “academic stress” as he was preparing for second semester Mathematics exam, which he failed to clear earlier.
Dr Jigar Inamdar, director ICCR Gujarat, said, “In October 2019, he came on tourist visa and took the exam but could not clear it. So, this time he again came on tourist visa for the exam and was staying at a private accommodation in Paldi. We do not have any ICCR record of him as his scholarship was over.”
Raj Majumdar, a student from Bangladesh, who stayed in the same hostel, told The Indian Express, “I was woken up around 6.15 am by Dhruvo Islam of another room. He had got up to use the toilet when he saw a body hanging with a tree outside the hostel. First he thought he was hallucinating after seeing social media posts on the suicide of Bollywood actor Sushant Singh Rajput.”
But when he saw the body again while returning to the room after using the toilet, he went to Raj’s room to wake him up. “We went closer to find that there was a body hanging from the tree with a toppled wooden chair beneath. Since the person was facing the other side, we couldn’t recognise him immediately… So we called some other students who identified the body,” added Raj, a final year BBA student. The students then informed the police and ICCR officials.
“He returned to Ahmedabad in March for the exam that was scheduled in April. But it was postponed due to the lockdown. He kept worrying about his exam and degree saying that it has been five years but he has not got his BBA degree,” one of the students from Kabul who was close to him said. “He used to visit his friends staying in a paying guest accommodation in Paldi area, where he also stayed for a year during his course,” another student said on condition of anonymity.
Police said preliminary investigations suggested that the student ended his life. “No note was found and we are probing the reason… The body has been sent for postmortem. We have informed the Foreigners Regional Registration Officer (FRRO) office in Ahmedabad…,” said JM Vyas, incharge officer, Gujarat University police station.
Denying that Shekib was under academic stress, Inamdar said, “He was said to be fine till yesterday when all the Afghan students gathered for a condolence meet at the hostel following a student’s mother’s death.”
“We have informed the Afghan Embassy. They will depute someone tomorrow to take the body and send it to Afghanistan,” Inamdar said. “ICCR supports for one attempt other than the usual exams but beyond that the students are on their own to take and clear the exams. So we did not even know that he was here,” said Neerja Arun, co-ordinator Study Abroad Programme (SAP), Gujarat University.
“I held a meeting of all security staff at the University campus, including hostels, today morning… will inform university authorities about need to have CCTV cameras,” Arun said.
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