“Another meritorious student like my daughter should not face the same fate. Let this be an eye-opener. The government should help poor students, especially during this Covid crisis,” said G Srinivas Reddy, father of LSR College student Aishwarya Reddy who committed suicide at her Telangana home last week over her family’s financial difficulties.
Speaking to The Indian Express, Reddy said just like him, many families must have lost livelihoods during the lockdown and students who hoped for a bright future must be facing a grim financial situation. “I urge the central and state governments to help such students continue their studies… No one should die like my daughter due to lack of money to study. She worried over our poor financial condition and took the extreme step. This should not happen in any other house again.
“I now understand what must be going on in the minds of students who see their families struggling financially. My daughter used to confide in me about everything but she did not share what turmoil she was in,” he said.
Reddy said colleges and universities should not ask students, especially those who are on scholarships or come from poor financial backgrounds, to vacate hostels immediately as payment of scholarship amount can be delayed for various reasons.
Aishwarya’s family had Sunday told The Indian Express that she had been stressed over a range of factors — from not having access to a laptop to having to vacate the hostel, which is only available for first-year students.
Reddy, who had asked his second daughter to drop out of school so that Aishwarya could go to college in Delhi, said he now wants her to resume school: “My elder one is no more… I want to educate the younger one. I will do whatever I can to fund her studies.”
Several student organisations, meanwhile, held protests in her home town of Shadnagar Monday demanding justice for poor students whose studies have been disrupted due to the lockdown.
Former Congress MP P Prabhakar and ex MLAs Sampath Kumar and Vamshi Chandra visited the family. Telangana Pradesh Congress committee has decided to give Rs 1 lakh for the education of Aishwarya’s sister.
“Classes are being held online and most poor students do not have good smartphones to join them. They are dropping out, going into depression because they cannot study. Many of these poor students are very bright but due to lack of resources, they are forced to drop out. Governments must intervene and take note of their plight,” Prabhakar said.