Fathima faced mental harassment on IIT campus, allege parents

Fathima faced mental harassment on IIT campus, claim parents
Fathima Latheef (left) and her father Abdul Latheef. File photo

Kollam/Chennai: Parents of Keralite student Fathima Latheef, who was found dead at the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Madras, alleged on Wednesday that the 18-year-old faced mental harassment on the campus.

Her parents Abdul Latheef and Sajitha from Kollam in Kerala also claimed that their daughter would not have committed suicide.

A first-year student of MA, humanities and development studies (integrated), Fathima was found hanging in her hostel room on November 9.

"I will never believe that my daughter would hang herself to death. She would never do this. Her life was taken," mother Sajitha told mediapersons.

Her parents also released two notes found on Fathima's phone that pointed fingers at three teachers.

One of the notes, saved as wallpaper of the phone, stated that a teacher was responsible for her death. The teenager had also mentioned the teacher’s name.

Cops question teachers

However, the police said they did not come across the suicide note and that the mobile phone had been sent for forensic examination.

The police have questioned 11 people, including four teachers. One of the teachers, against whom allegations have been raised, is on leave.

Umakant Das, head of the humanities department, which was Fathima's field of study, said Fathima was a brilliant student and that he would cooperate with the probe. The IIT is yet to declare an internal probe. The institute is yet to respond to the harassment charges.

'She was crying at mess hall'

Fathima had complained about being denied marks in one of the internal exams.

On the fateful day, Fathima had contacted her family via video call five times, said Sajitha. Though she appeared to be under lot of stress, she did not reveal the reason.

The mother said she was informed by the college staff that Fathima had been crying at the mess hall till 9.30pm and a woman staff consoled her and sent her back to the hostel room.

The college authorities said Fathima was upset over poor marks in the exams.

However, her family pointed out that Fathima had topped all exams. She was first reportedly given 13 marks out of 20 in the internal exam for the subject 'Logic'. When she sent an email to the teacher, pointing out the erroneous evaluation, she was given 18 marks.

Father Abdul Latheef said apart from this teacher, the family was suspicious of the role of two assistant professors and some students.

The relatives said none of the faculty contacted them after they reached Chennai, raising suspicion.

The family has sent a complaint to the President, Prime Minister, Congress chief Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi, MP, Kerala chief minister and the governor.

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