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IIT student found hanging

Guwahati, March 11: An IIT Guwahati student, S.M. Shoaib Ahmed, 22, from West Bengal was found hanging from the ceiling fan of his room around 7.30am today.

“He was found hanging when a group of students came knocking this morning to ask him to come to class with them,” Labanu Konwar, public relations officer of IIT Guwahati, said.

The door of Shoaib’s room was not locked from inside. “Our students often sleep without locking their doors,” Konwar said.

The IIT authorities were informed at 8am, sources said.

The room, number 204, is on the second floor of Dibang hostel, about 700 metres from his classroom. Shoaib had a class at 8am, which is why his fellow students from the hostel had come calling.

Shoaib was a second semester post-graduate student of mathematics. He hailed from Bhabla in North 24 Parganas district of West Bengal.

“It appears to be a case of suicide,” Siddhi Kumar Barua, deputy superintendent of police, Jalukbari, the investigating officer, told The Telegraph. “We didn’t see any signs of foul play. The laceration mark on Shoaib’s neck was oblique as opposed to a round mark that is normally seen when a person is killed.”

Jatin Bora, magistrate and circle officer (Kamrup), said “some other body fluids” were found on Shoaib’s body. The body was sent for post-mortem to the GMCH.

Konwar said Shoaib, who had joined the IIT in July last year, had watched a movie, Black Friday, with his friends till midnight in room 201.

He is believed to have been suffering from depression, Prof. Gautam Biswas, director of the institute, told The Telegraph. “That is what his friends tell us. They say he was undergoing treatment and was on medication,” he said.

Asked why the institute didn’t know about Shoaib’s mental condition, Biswas said it was not possible to keep track of the mental health of each of the 5,000 students at IIT. “But we have a reasonably elaborate health centre that has doctors round-the-clock.”

Asked if IIT Guwahati has a system of checking students’ mental health at the time of entry as it checks their physical health, he said, “I don’t think any IIT in the country has such a system. But after today’s case we have to seriously analyse the situation”.

Shoaib’s elder brother, Shamim, who arrived here this evening, however, denied that his brother was suffering from depression. “He was fine and never told us anything about it. He had called home three days ago and told our mother that he would come home on March 10. He later called to say that he had to cancel the trip because he had to attend extra classes,” he said.

Shamim told The Telegraph that his family had received a call from IIT at 9.10am. He said Shoaib was the second of four siblings and has a younger brother and sister. He had done his bachelors in maths from Narendrapur Ramakrishna Mission College with a first class degree. He had scored over 80 per cent marks in his school boards.