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IIT student found dead

Lucknow, Feb. 5: An IIT Kanpur student was found dead today in his hostel room from suspected poisoning, bringing back the shadow of suicides on the campus after a gap of three years.

Manjunath, 21, from Karnataka had been suffering from depression and was under counselling, according to registrar Rakesh Kumar Sachaan who described the third-year computer science student as “average”.

Manjunath had lost his father several years ago but his younger sister allegedly committed suicide just over two months back.

“This (sister’s death) may have added to his depression. We don’t know if he has left behind any suicide note. The police are investigating the case. But yes, he was suffering from depression and was under counselling from our experts,” Sachaan said over phone from Kanpur.

Anand Prakash Mishra, the officer in charge of Kalyanpur under which the institute falls, confirmed poisoning but not the exact cause which he said could have either been an overdose of pills or pesticide. “The actual cause would be known only after the post-mortem report is received.”

Registrar Sachaan said Manjunath’s family had been informed and his mother was expected to reach Kanpur late tonight.

While this is the first suspected suicide since 2011, institute sources said it was the third abnormal death of a student in two months.

In December, a student was found dead near the rail tracks running along the campus. The authorities had then suspected a train hit.

On January 1, another student was found dead in his hostel room. Doctors had said in their report that the cause was cardiac arrest. According to the student’s friends and teachers, they knew of no previous health problems and the youth had played cricket hours before he was found dead in his hostel.

The last confirmed suicide on the campus occurred in 2011. Mehtab Ahmed, from Kannauj in Uttar Pradesh, was a first-year student.

In 2012, V. Nehru, a second-year student, had allegedly committed suicide but the incident had taken place at his Andhra home after he failed to make the grades and left the campus.

The problem appeared the gravest between 2005 and 2010 when the elite technology institute had been rocked by a spate of suicides, many blamed on academic pressure and the failure of the students to cope.

The deaths had forced the authorities to set up a full-fledged counselling centre on the campus. But even this initiative had failed to completely check the trend and some suicides had occurred later in spite of such psychological support.