The sealed hostel room of BIT-Mesra on Monday where Kirti Kumar (below) committed suicide. Picture by Hardeep Singh
BIT-Mesra woke up horrified on Monday as a 27-year-old PhD student hanged himself in his hostel room hours after curtains came down on five-day annual festivities on the campus on Sunday.
This is the second suicide at the prestigious private cradle in barely two months.
Kirti Kumar, a native of Purnea district in Bihar who had enrolled as a research scholar in production engineering only a year ago, was last seen around 9pm during the Kailash Kher night on the final day of BITotsav. He reportedly remained confined to room No. 74 of Hostel 5 since.
Around 11.50am, hostel warden Vijay Pandey sensed something was not right with the youth and rang up the local Mesra police outpost. The door to the room was broken open and Kirti Kumar was found hanging from the ceiling fan around 12.30pm.
Pandey claimed the youth, depressed ever since he lost a job during recession, had decided to discontinue his PhD. “He had come to the campus from Bihar only two days ago to clear his dues and return home for good.”
BIT-Mesra vice chancellor P.K. Barhai echoed Pandey. “The reason I say he was suffering from acute depression is that his attendance was as poor as 10-15 per cent in the past academic year. Also, he rejected the fellowship we were willing to offer,” Barhai said.
According to the V-C, when he called Kirti Kumar’s parents in Bihar to inform about the tragedy in the morning, the youth’s father too admitted that he was under stress. “Unaware of what had happened, his dad said, ‘please take care of my boy… he is very frustrated because he has no job’. I felt so bad,” Barhai recalled.
Sources said the youth worked with a computer firm in Patna till recession hit. After he got laid off, he applied for PhD at Mesra. He was always a bright student, with over 90 percentile in both matriculation and intermediate, and had completed his BTech from BIT-Sindri.
Barhai said students should speak up if they are depressed for some reason. “Had he approached us with his problems, we could have helped. The fellowship we were offering was Rs 18,000 a month, decent enough for study and individual expenses. He declined. He left the course a few months ago and returned to clear his dues. We don’t know anything more than this,” he said.
Police have sent the body for post-mortem. “It seems the youth was depressed because he had no job. The exact reason of suicide is, however, a matter of investigation. We have sealed the hostel room,” said in-charge of Mesra outpost Shiv Gope.
On January 30, mechanical student Gaurav Upadhyay (24) had hanged himself in his hostel room. He was the fourth Mesra boy in three years to choose the noose.