AIIMS students boycotting classes claim caste discrimination by college prompted suicide

By Zoya Khan

A day after a medical student at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) committed suicide in his hostel room, students on Monday boycotted classes, alleging that caste discrimination by the college administration prompted the suicide.

The protest will go on for an indefinite period. The students, holding placards, also demanded the immediate resignation of the institute's director, Dr R.C. Deka.

They threatened to meet chief minister Sheila Dikshit if the administration did not consider their demands.

In support: Students hold a canlelight protest after the suicide of Anil Kumar Meena

In support: Students hold a canlelight protest after the suicide of Anil Kumar Meena

MBBS student Anil Kumar Meena (22) committed suicide on Sunday, unable to cope with the English-medium curriculum at the institute, the students alleged.

Meena, who was from Rajasthan, was the second topper in ST category at the All India Medical Entrance Test.

He was depressed after failing in the semester exams. Students, carrying candles and placards that read 'How many suicides will open your eyes?', gathered in a hall at AIIMS, demanding justice.

Some students alleged caste-based discrimination was rampant at the institute and that could have been the trigger for the suicide.

'He was facing discrimination because of his rural background and the fact that he did his schooling from a Hindimedium school. Caste-based discrimination has led to similar suicides earlier as well,' a student said. Four students have attempted suicide in recent years.

'This is the second case of suicide in two years. There is definitely some loophole in the administration, including the fact that no counselling is provided to students who are just 17- year-olds when they join the institute,' said Dr Sudipto Ranjan Singh, president of the resident doctors association at AIIMS.

Meena, apparently because of low attendance, had to take the supplementary exams, in which he failed. He then approached the director for help but he refused to meet him, a student alleged.

The AIIMS administration, meanwhile, said in a statement that the director, faculty, the administration and students will work together to ensure that students of the institute were mentored and supported continuously through close interaction.