You touch him, you risk your career, students were told

You touch him, you risk your career, students were told

'Wardens captured dying Sai on cellphones for evidence'

“Don’t rescue him. It’s a medico-legal case. If you touch him, police will trace your fingerprints; you will jeopardise your career. Wait for the police to arrive. Don’t go near him.”

This was the warning college wardens Lakshman Kare and Karunakar Babu gave the classmates and friends of Jitendra Sai, a third-year engineering student of Amrita Institute of Technology and Science, even as they watched him helplessly as he struggled for breath, after hanging himself from the ceiling fan.

What was more shocking was the wardens capturing a dying Sai on their cellphones, saying it would be an evidence to establish “a pure case of suicide”.

The campus doctor turned up at Sai’s room 25 minutes later. The warden duo kept the students out while Sai gasped for breath. “Our friend was still alive when the doctor brought him down. He was breathing. Instead of treating him, the doctor asked us to resuscitate him. Later, he was taken to a nearby hospital, but he died on the way,” Sai’s classmates alleged.

“We could have definitely saved him had the warden not locked the door from inside. He would have survived if the doctor had rushed immediately, as the clinic is located just a stone’s throw away from the college. He would not have ended life had Dr S G Rakesh (Associate Dean of the college) not framed stringent rules. Should we blame them for the tragic incident, or should we curse ourselves for having joined this college,” they said.

Students of all five branches of different semesters spoke of the problems they faced in the college. “They changed 70 norms since 2009. We were prevented from celebrating occasions like birthdays. We attend classes in an under-construction building and we stay in an under-construction hostel. There is not even a lift for a block which has seven floors. Food served at the hostel sometimes has roaches, stones and pieces of electric wires in it. The campus doctor claims to be an MBBS, but he always prescribes either painkillers or refers student patients to other hospitals,” the agitated students alleged.

They said the teacher-student interaction was poor as teachers never entertained students for clarifications. “In any VTU examination, each question paper has options allowing students to choose questions of their choice. But in our college, all questions in any examination are compulsory. Each student pays Rs 1.8 lakh fee per year, while the management has fixed it at Rs 2.2 lakh from the next semester. The college doesn’t even have a proper playground,” the students said.

Tests are announced the previous evening. Questions are set outside the syllabus and most times, questions are extremely difficult. The supplementary exams are all the more difficult, they added.
Soon after the incident, the students boycotted classes and locked the main gate.

“It is his (Sai’s) fate. You will spoil your career if you make an issue out of this,” the college management allegedly warned students when some of them claimed harassment by college authorities was the reason for Sai’s death. The management later said it would decide whether or not to conduct an inquiry after receiving the post mortem report.

Reacting to the charges, Dr Rakesh merely said he had only implemented the rules followed by other colleges. The local police too said stringent college rules and torture had driven Sai to take the extreme step.

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