Four funerals and an exorcism

A series of unfortunate deaths of four students at the prestigious National Institute of Technology (NIT) at Warangal in Andhra Pradesh last year persuaded its director to conduct an exorcism at his residence on the campus on Saturday to “ward off evil”.

Prof T Srinivas Rao claimed that the “Dushta Graha Nivarana Chandi Yagam” organised at his residence had nothing to do with the tragic events that included two students committing suicide on the campus, and two others dying elsewhere in mysterious circumstances during 2011.

“The institute has nothing to do with the ‘yaga. It is like any other prayer offered at my residence. We have performed ‘Satyanarayana vratam’ in our house and this yaga is no different. It is purely our domestic affair,” he told reporters.

Campus sources, however, claimed that the director organised the ritual at his residence after his request to conduct it on behalf of NIT was turned down.  Surprising for a frontline technology teaching institution, many on the campus hold faulty “vastu” responsible for the series of deaths after the Regional Engineering College was upgraded to NIT and new buildings, including a 10-storey structure, were constructed.

On August 27, a first year B Tech student, Midatala Madhuri, died after falling from the fourth floor of the new hostel building under suspicious circumstances. The girl was from Visakhapatnam.

Madhuri, resident of the Priyadarshini hostel, was spotted in the  the new quarters after finishing her examination in the evening. Students say she slipped accidentally from the fourth floor and was rushed to a private hospital. She breathed her last on the way. The girl had secured 1000th rank at AIEEE and joined the NIT. In November, a first-year M Tech student committed suicide by jumping from his ninth floor hostel building.

Ankur Bharadwaj, 26, a student of M Tech Structural Engineering in NIT’s Civil Engineering department, was a resident of Delhi.

According to Prof G Radhakrishnamachary, dean, student affairs at NIT Warangal, the Bharadwaj’s diary entries had subjects like mystery of death and life after death. “He regularly read the ‘Bhagwadgita,’ the ‘Upanishads,’ used to get up early at 4 am to perform yoga,” he said.

In the same month, yet another student, Swapnika Reddy, died in a train accident in Nellore.

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