'Exam fear led to her death

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Old 06-May-2008
'Exam fear led to her death

6 May 2008

A day after 21-year-old Sargam Jain apparently committed suicide by jumping headlong down the fifth floor of her RCEW college hostel, her friends and fellow students, still in a state of shock, said on Monday that the Delhi girl had been depressed due to her poor performance in the third semester exams.

A college employee who was one of the first to find Sargam bleeding and struggling for life after her fatal fall, said he rushed out at about 5.30 pm after hearing a loud thud. "I found her seriously injured behind the hostel building. She was still alive when we tried to lift her up," he said, re-counting the horror. "She cried for help and asked us to save her, but it was too late. Doctors at SMS hospital, where we took her, declared she had been brought dead."

The police, though, almost pulled the curtains down on the case saying it was suicide and there was nothing much to be investigated even as it handed the girl's body to her tearful parents, who rushed to Jaipur from Delhi late Sunday night.

Surprisingly, rather keen to "close" the case, the police hadn't even bothered to gather much details about Sargam and her family. Content to say that the second year electrical engineering student was stressed enough to kill herself, investigating officers hadn't thought it worthwhile to gather evidence from the suicide scene or have forensic experts give their opinion about the case.

"There was nothing in the case," said Pushpendra Singh, circle officer, Dudu police station. "We spoke to college authorities as well as her roommates and friends, everybody said she was extremely worked up and depressed about her results."

The college, deep in sorrow and in condolence, remained shut for the day even as students spoke in hushed tones about what had happened. The hostel Sargam lived in was quiet and grieving. "We didn't know she was so stressed," said Dr Renu Joshi, principal of the college. "Who would have thought she would do this to herself."

That Sargam's parents had met her just a day before her death and were still not able to talk her out of her anxious state of mind is bothering her friends more than anything else.

"We tried to calm her down," said Richa, a close friend of Sargam as she recounted the stream of events before her friend's death. "But she showed no signs of recovery ever since results were declared last week. Her parents were in the campus on May 3 and had a detailed talk with her and she even appeared to be a bit normal after that. We are shattered."

Others, too, are equally shocked. Sargam's roommates, who didn't want to be named, said she fidgeted a lot after the third semester results came out and she had flunked in five out of six subjects.

"At around 3 pm on May 4, after studying throughout the day, all three of us decided to take an afternoon nap and we set an alarm for 4.30 pm. But when we got up she was missing. Moments later we found out what had happened. It was completely unexpected," said one of Sargam's roomies, wiping tears rolling down her eyes.

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