A 20-year-old student at the University of Hyderabad killed himself early on Saturday, police said, bringing back memories of Rohith Vemula’s suicide on the same campus in January that sparked nationwide protests.
Police said Nelli Praveen Kumar, a first-year master of fine arts student, may have been severely depressed because of his educational background, according to a diary recovered from his room.
Madhapur deputy commissioner of police L Karthikeya said Praveen, who hailed from Shadnagar town of Mahbubnagar district, hadn’t left a suicide note, but his diary revealed he was depressed . The diary is being sent for forensic analysis.
“Going by the diary, Praveen was not feeling comfortable with studies. There were a couple of sentences in which he wondered why he was not able to lead a normal life like others and why he was not happy,” Karthikeya said. Students said Praveen belonged to Kuruma (shepherd) caste, which comes under the other backward class (OBC) category.
The suicide comes months after Vemula killed himself on campus in a similar fashion after alleged caste discrimination. Since then, thousands of students and activists have hit the streets in protest across India amid a renewed debate on festering casteism in educational campuses.
According to an official release from University authorities, at around 4.15 am, Praveen’s roommate, who was also his classmate, returned from his painting studio and found the room latched from the inside. When Praveen did not open the door despite several knocks, he alerted his other hostel mates. Together, they managed to open the latch through the ventilator and found him hanging from the ceiling.
Praveen was immediately shifted to the University Health Centre. After preliminary examination by the Resident Medical Officer, he was rushed to Citizen Hospital along with the University Medical Officer. Doctors at the hospital declared him brought dead. His body was later moved to Osmania General Hospital by the police for post mortem.
His brother Naveen expressed shock at Praveen’s suicide. He said his brother never had any suicidal tendencies and was alright when he spoke to him a couple of days ago. “We don’t know what prompted him to take to the extreme step,” he said.
According to University of Hyderabad Joint Action Committee leader Sannaki Munna, Praveen joined the course in July and nobody was aware of his family conditions. “We are yet to ascertain as the reasons for his suicide,” he said.