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IIT boy’s father smells foul play in death

Basirhat, March 12: The father of the IIT Guwahati student found hanging in his hostel room yesterday has contested the claim that his son committed suicide and has alleged foul play.

“We don’t believe that Shoaib (Ahmed) committed suicide. Have you ever heard that one commits suicide by keeping the door of his room open? There is foul play behind my son’s death,” said Mustaq Ahmed, the 22-year-old’s father who lives in North 24-Parganas’ Bhabla and teaches science in a local school.

“We will decide on our future course of action after the last rites are over,” he added. The body of Shoaib, who was allegedly found hanging around 7.30am yesterday by some of his hostel mates, was flown to Calcutta this afternoon. His relatives reached Bhabla with the body around 7.30pm.

IIT Guwahati director Gautam Biswas had said yesterday that Shoaib’s friends had told the authorities that the 22-year-old, who was pursuing masters in mathematics, had been suffering from depression.

Shoaib’s uncle Samsad Ali, who lives in Guwahati, echoed Mustaq. “We suspect foul play. Shoaib’s room was found open. We have submitted relevant documents and Shoaib’s cellphone to police (in Assam) for a proper inquiry,” Samsad said.

The officer in charge of Jalukbari police station in Guwahati, P.K. Das, said circumstantial evidence suggested that Shoaib had committed suicide. “But we did not find a suicide note. We will know the cause of death after we get the post-mortem report, which is likely to be submitted in three days,” Das said.

A pall of gloom descended on Shoaib’s two-storey house and the neighbourhood today. Neighbours and relatives stood in front of the house.

“Shoaib’s mother was informed about her son’s death this morning. She has been crying since then,” said Golam Kuddus, 53, a neighbour.

A relative said he did not believe that Shoaib had ended his own life as no suicide note had been found. He also contested the claim that the student was suffering from depression. “We don’t know if he was depressed. But he was definitely under study-related stress, which is natural in institutions like IITs,” the relative said.