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Ruckus over engineering student’s suicide

- Family members accuse private college authorities of abetting victim to kill self

Bhubaneswar, Jan. 3: Students of a private engineering college at Palaspur today ransacked the institute after one of their friends committed suicide by jumping in front of a train yesterday.

Family members of the deceased also lodged a complaint with the Government Railway Police (GRP), Bhubaneswar, accusing the college authorities of abetting the student, Sanjeet Pattnaik, 24, to commit suicide.

The GRP officials yesterday seized a suicide note from Pattnaik’s pocket, in which, it was mentioned that he committed suicide after his college authorities denied him to take the test, as he had not paid the college fee.

However, the college authorities dismissed the charges that exorbitant fee had forced the youth to commit suicide. Adding that he had not come to the college yesterday, principal Subrat Sahu said there might be other reasons behind his death.

The GRP officials recovered Pattnaik’s body from the railway tracks at Lingaraj railway station yesterday evening. An official said they had registered a case following complaint from the family members. Pattnaik was a third-year bachelor in technology student enrolled in electronic and telecommunication stream of Mahavir Institute of Engineering and Technology. He hailed from Charampa in Bhadrak and was staying in a private accommodation at Dumduma. His father, Narendra Pattnaik, is a senior clerk with the revenue department while his mother, Arati Mohanty, is the headmistress of a government-run girls’ high school in Bhadrak.

His friends and family members said Sanjeet had paid Rs 50,000 as the course fee for third year, but the college authorities, at the last moment before the semester exam, informed him that he had to pay the pending amount of another Rs 17,000 to take the test.

“The deceased appealed to the college principal to allow him to take the test, but he did not listen. Even he did not sign any undertaking though my brother pleaded for it,” said Sanjeev Pattnaik, the elder brother of the deceased, who is a software engineer.

Sanjeet’s family members and friends gheraoed the principal, who came to Capital Hospital this morning to pay homage to the student and meet his parents.

Udayanath Pattnaik, a relative of the deceased, demanded investigation into the matter and strong action against the college authorities.

After post-mortem, the students took the body to the college and staged a protest there. Later, they ransacked the college by damaging properties worth more than Rs 10 lakh. Police rushed to the spot and convinced the angry students to stop violence.

“The authorities, in presence of the police, assured us to give compensation to Sanjeet’s family members,” said Biplab Panda, co-ordinator of the All-Odisha BPUT Students’ Association.

Sahu said that this year, the student had to pay Rs 99,000, including some pending fees. “He had paid Rs 50,000 this year and had an arrear of Rs 49,000. We had not denied him from appearing in the exam. He had not come to the college yesterday at all. There might be other reasons behind his death,” he said.

The college authorities will assess the damage of properties and take steps accordingly.