Tuesday, April 19, 2011

[ZESTCaste] PhD student’s death sparks protests


PhD student's death sparks protests

Deepu Sebastian Edmond Posted online: Tue Apr 19 2011, 01:35 hrs
New Delhi : The death of a PhD student at the National Institute of
Immunology (NII), which police are treating as an unnatural death, on
Monday led to protests and demands for an independent inquiry into the

Linesh Mohan Gawli, a 27-year-old Dalit from Dindori in Jabalpur, was
found dead on Sunday. It is suspected that he took his own life by
consuming poison.

"His room was locked from inside. As of now, it is a case of unnatural
death. He had taken poison. We have sent the viscera for a chemical
analysis to find out the exact cause of death. The report is awaited,"
said Vijay Singh, Additional Deputy Commissioner of Police (South).

A group of students from Jawaharlal Nehru University and the Indian
Institute of Mass Communication protested outside the NII on Monday.
They demanded an independent inquiry into the death of Gawli.

The students claimed this was the third such incident in as many years.

"In February 2010, a PhD candidate committed suicide. Another student
had done it earlier. We suspect work pressure forced these students to
take the extreme step," said Sandeep Singh, president of the All India
Students' Association.

"Students sign in at the labs at 8 in the morning and put in a minimum
of 10 hours each day. In extreme cases, they stay on till 4 in the
morning and return in four hours," said one student.

Administrators of NII were not available for comment.

Four representatives from among the protesting students who were
allowed to meet NII authorities claimed their demand for an
independent inquiry had been rejected.

The NII is a close-knit community of about 50 professors and 400
research scholars.


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