Dalit IIT Student, Who Died By Suicide, Was Humiliated By Friends: Family

Darshan Solanki died at the IIT Bombay campus on Sunday.


An 18-year-old Dalit student at IIT Bombay, who died allegedly by suicide, had spoken to his sister and aunt about being ostracised by his friends because of his caste, the family has told NDTV. While authorities at IIT Bombay have said there was no discrimination on the campus, Darshan Solanki’s family claimed he did face persecution.

“When he came last month, he told me, and mom-dad, that there’s caste discrimination happening there. His friends came to know that he belongs to a scheduled caste, so their behaviour towards him changed. They stopped talking to him, they stopped hanging out with him,” his sister Jhanvi Solanki said.

“He was in distress, he was being tortured. That’s why he did this,” his mother Tarlikaben Solanki said.

Darshan’s aunt Divyaben said, “One month ago when he came here, he was saying that many students don’t like that I am studying for free. People are jealous, they ask ‘why are you studying for free while we are spending a lot of money’. ‘Many students are jealous of me,’ he told me. He stopped speaking to some friends too.”

Rameshbhai Solanki, Darshan’s father, said he spoke to his son just hours before his death.

“Two hours before his suicide, we got a call from IIT. He was speaking normally, asking ‘how are you’. He called to wish my elder brother’s daughter a happy birthday. He said he will go out today. I sent some money to his account. He said, ‘I have money, I don’t need money’. He wasn’t spending much, but I still send some money. I had no idea that something like this could happen.

IIT Bombay has refuted charges that Darshan Solanki faced systemic discrimination and said his death is being probed.

“IIT Bombay strongly refutes claims in some news articles about the tragic death of a 1st year BTech student, that imply that the cause was discrimination, and say it amounted to ‘institutional murder’,” the educational institute said in a statement Tuesday.

Police registered a case of accidental death after Darshan died, apparently after he jumped off the seventh floor of the hostel building on Sunday. They haven’t found a suicide note yet, but a student group is alleging that he was driven to suicide due to discrimination against Dalit students on the campus.

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