Two days after a researcher at Indian Institute of Science Education and Research- Kolkata (IISER-Kolkata) was found dead inside a laboratory on the campus in Nadia district’s Mohoanpur, around 55km northeast of Kolkata, police have begun a probe against his guide following a complaint lodged by the student’s mother.
The mother of the researcher, Subhadip Roy, has accused the guide, Chiranjib Mitra, of “continued negligence” of her son and also “mentally torturing” him.
Subhadip left behind a purported suicide note, in which he held Mitra, a professor in the physical science department, responsible for his death.
Sayak Das, superintendent of police of the Ranaghat police district, said: “We have received a complaint from the researcher’s mother. We have also recovered a suicide note and some empty containers of suspected chemicals which are being examined, along with the role of the accused professor. The suicide note is being examined by handwriting experts.”
The police have charged the professor with misrepresentation/concealment based on the complaint.
Subhadip was found dead inside the physics laboratory on April 4. Some bottles of a pet medicine were found near his body.
The IISER authorities said after a daylong protest that they would constitute a committee to look into the grievances of the students and researchers.
In her FIR, Subhadip’s mother Ranjana Roy has also accused Mitra of “wilful misrepresentation” and “wilful concealment”.
Roy has written in her complaint: “The professor while meeting me tried to put up a different story. But my son actually compelled to end his life only due to tremendous mental torture unleashed by Professor Mitra.”
She later told The Telegraph: “He (the teacher) should be arrested immediately and punished so that teachers like him become alert. That will ensure that meritorious students of this country, for whom the government is spending so much money, are not lost forever.”
Roy said Subhadip could hardly focus on his research as Mitra made him the in-charge of the lab and guide students and other researchers.
“I told him (Subhadip) many times to adjust to the situation but never imagined he would take his life,” Roy said.
Repeated calls to Mitra from this newspaper went unanswered.
Students and researchers on the IISER campus have been demonstrating since Wednesday morning demanding justice for Subhadip and punishment for those responsible for his death.
The protesters are boycotting food and not allowing any official and faculty member to leave the campus.
On Tuesday night, around 700 students and researchers organised a candle-light march on the campus demanding “justice” for Subhadip. The demonstration was temporarily withdrawn on Tuesday after IISER director Sourav Pal met the protesters and assured them that their grievances would be addressed.
On Wednesday, some of Subhadip’s batchmates performed his shraddh (last rites) on the bank of a pond on the campus.
“It is still hard to believe that a person who led the students from the front as secretary of the Students' Affairs Committee and personally saved many students and researchers from depression could himself take such a step. It is apparent how much he suffered.... We need an end to such mental torture,” a PhD scholar said.