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Over 20 years: 115 IIT student committed suicides, IIT Madras tops with 26, Bombay 10

From 2005 to 2024, the highest number of fatalities was reported at IIT Madras with 26 deaths, trailed by 18 at IIT Kanpur, 13 at IIT Kharagpur, and 10 at IIT Bombay.

Written by  Annesha Barua -- May 02nd 2024 12:19 PM
Over 20 years: 115 IIT student committed suicides, IIT Madras tops with 26, Bombay 10

Over 20 years: 115 IIT student committed suicides, IIT Madras tops with 26, Bombay 10

PTC News Desk: A troubling revelation has emerged from data obtained via a Right to Information (RTI) request, shedding light on the distressing toll of suicides among Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) students over the past two decades. The data, compiled by Dheeraj Singh, an alumnus of IIT Kanpur and founder of the Global IIT Alumni Support Group, highlights a staggering total of 115 suicides, with 98 occurring on campus and 17 off-campus.

The highest number of student suicides between 2005 and 2024 occurred at IIT Madras, with 26 tragic deaths, followed by 18 at IIT Kanpur, 13 at IIT Kharagpur, and 10 at IIT Bombay. This year alone has witnessed five recorded deaths thus far.


The impetus for this data inquiry stemmed from the untimely demise of IIT Bombay student Darshan Solanki on February 12, 2023. Singh's efforts to uncover the extent of student suicides faced initial resistance from the higher education department, prompting him to file an RTI application seeking comprehensive data across all IITs nationwide.

Despite challenges and delays, Singh's persistence led to the eventual sharing of data from 13 out of 23 IITs. Complementing the RTI responses, Singh supplemented his findings with data sourced from the National Crime Record Bureau and parliamentary inquiries.

The alarming trend of student suicides within the IIT community underscores the urgent need for systemic reforms to alleviate academic and social pressures. In the wake of Solanki's tragic passing, internal surveys conducted by various IIT student organisations revealed widespread perceptions of academic stress as the primary contributing factor to student suicides, followed by concerns over job insecurity, family issues, and harassment.

Recognising the gravity of the situation, the University Grants Commission and the Government of India have initiated measures to address mental health and well-being on campuses. Initiatives such as Manodarpan aim to provide psychological support to students, teachers, and families during challenging times.

In response to growing concerns, IITs have also implemented preventive measures, such as reducing academic pressure on first-year students and enhancing mental health programs. However, challenges persist, with societal pressures and economic uncertainties adding to the strain on students.

As the conversation around student mental health continues to evolve, stakeholders emphasize the need for holistic approaches that address institutional and societal factors contributing to student distress. By fostering supportive environments and prioritising student well-being, institutions can strive to prevent further tragedies and promote healthier academic communities.

- With inputs from agencies

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