Students’ union fault college authorities for suicide by a student unable to fund studies

ALLEGED  suicide committed by a  19-year-old girl from Telangana studying  BSc Mathematics (Honours) in an elite  Delhi college due to financial constrains has shocked people beyond her home state. Aishwarya was a Class 12 examination topper and had secured a seat in the  Delhi college based on merit. She had scored 98.5 percent in Class 12  and was a recipient of the government’s ‘Inspire’ scholarship, offered by the Ministry of Science and Technology, but wasn’t sure if she would receive the full amount, her family alleged. Aishwarya Reddy was a student of  Lady Shri Ram College for Women and was reportedly an IAS officer aspirant. She has left behind a purported suicide note in which she cited financial difficulties. Commenting on the incident, the police said Aishwarya had come to her home after a nationwide lockdown was announced in March due to the coronavirus outbreak. In her suicide note, she wrote “No one is responsible for my death. I don’t want to become a burden on the family. I can’t live without studying, I was thinking about it and this [death] is the only way left for me.” Her father, an auto mechanic by profession, says he had taken a loan of Rs 2 lakh after mortgaging their home and pledged gold ornaments for her higher education which further added to the family’s financial woes.  Aishwarya’s sister had to drop out of school due to her parents ‘financial crisis. Aishwarya was depressed after she was asked to vacate her college hostel in Delhi when she was trying to get a laptop for online studies. Meanwhile, in the absence of a laptop, she was attending online classes using her mobile phone. Her family said she was ’provisionally selected’ for the Inspire scholarship in August and was asked to complete the documentation before the end of this year. ‘’My daughter had returned home in February after the college closed. In October, she asked if I could buy her a laptop as online classes had started and she was finding it difficult to attend them on her phone. She said even a used laptop would do. I told her to wait for a few days. She did not ask again. A few days later, she mentioned that the scholarship amount she was supposed to receive was delayed,” her father said. LSR principal Suman Sharma told The Indian Express  Aishwarya had not reached out to the college for financial assistance: It is a huge loss for us and it is very unfortunate that we were unable to help her. However, she had never approached any teacher from the mathematics department or hostel authorities with her issues. The college has many schemes and scholarships but she never asked for assistance. We also have many mechanisms for mental health help, but unfortunately, she had not reached out for those either’’

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