Chennai: The City Crime Branch is conducting inquiries with the three professors in connection with the suicide of Fathima Latheef, the student of Humanities and Development Studies who had ended her life at the college hostel on November 9.
The CCB sent summons to the three IIT-Madras staff members —Sudharsan Padmanabhan, Hemachandran Karah and Milind Brahmem — who were all said to have been mentioned in the alleged suicide note left by Fathima Latheef.
Abdul Latheef, Fathima's father, was quizzed by the CCB team on Saturday to understand the events which led to the suicide. He had recently told the media that his daughter had explicitly mentioned Padmanabhan and that the screenshot with the names of the other two professors was fake. However, all three are being questioned by the police. They have also been asked to appear before the panel on Tuesday.
A suicide note on her mobile phone and tablet claimed the three professors had harassed her. On November 14, the City police commissioner A.K. Vishwanathan had visited IIT-M and conducted inquiries. Considering the sensitivity of the issue, he transferred the case to the City Crime Branch. The investigation is led by Additional Commissioner, CCB, C Eswaramoorthy and supervised by Additional Deputy Commissioner (ADC) Nehalina.
In the meanwhile, a group of students representing an independent student body 'ChintaBar' are staging an indefinite hunger strike inside the campus of IIT-M seeking an internal probe into Fathima's death. Sources said the protest led by two students — Azhar Moideen, a final year humanities student and Justin Joseph, pursuing PhD in the same stream — began an indefinite fast holding placard demanding a fair and unbiased probe into the suicide.
On Monday morning, 'Chintha Bar' students gathered and demanded an internal probe before the authorities. Since there was no response, the students began the strike inside the campus. The protesters said their strike will be called off when the management issues a statement promising all our demands will be met at the earliest.
ChintaBar had demanded a “fair, time-bound internal investigation into the conduct of the faculty” as demanded by Fathima Latheef's family, in a letter they sent to the director Bhaskar Ramamurthi. They demanded the conduct of a professional/expert study into mental health issues faced by the students on campus. The students have called for the implementation of resolutions that were passed during the Student Legislative Council meeting last semester. They also demanded the setting up of complaints and grievances redressal committees in all departments.
Student Legislative Council Resolution
The Student Legislative Council resolution from last semester asked the IIT Madras administration to set up a body of outside experts to study the overall mental well-being of the students in the institute and on theeffectiveness of the existing platforms and mechanisms to tackle all the issues faced by students in the campus.
The body should include psychologists, mental health experts, sociologists, educationists, faculty of IITM and other professional stakeholders and must look into the pressures faced by students, especially those from marginalised social backgrounds including SC/ST, women, and queer communities....