Ramesh Solanki, the father of Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay (IITB) student Darshan Solanki who died allegedly by suicide, said on Thursday that the Mumbai police’s Special Investigation Team (SIT) should investigate the caste-based discrimination angle in the case.
Solanki and his family members, along with former Mumbai University vice chancellor and MP Bhalchandra Mungekar held a press conference in Mumbai.
Solanki, who hailed from Ahmedabad and was a first-year student of the B Tech (Chemical) course, died after allegedly jumping off the seventh floor of a hostel building on the IITB campus in suburban Powai on February 12, a day after the semester exams ended.
The SIT should not investigate the case only on the basis of the purported suicide note found in Darshan’s hostel room but also look into the caste-based discrimination faced by Darshan, said Ramesh Solanki.
“We have submitted all related evidence to SIT officials,” he said.
A roommate of Darshan’s was arrested in the case for alleged abetment of suicide. He is now out on bail.
Earlier, Darshan’s family members as well as a fellow student had submitted statements to police about alleged harassment he faced on campus due to his caste.
He wanted to move into a different room because of the harassment by his roommates, Ramesh Solanki said.
When Darshan asked questions about computers and electronic gadgets, other students mocked him, Solanki alleged.
He also claimed that the purported suicide note did not match his son’s handwriting.
Darshan’s sister Janvi too claimed that it was not her brother’s handwriting, contrary to what the SIT has claimed.
Cloned copies of data of all electronic devices of her brother which the SIT has seized should be given to the family members, she demanded.
“We feel the major reason for Darshan Solanki’s suicide was caste-based discrimination prevalent at IIT Bombay and elsewhere,” said Dr Mungekar.
“Despite citing several instances and providing proof that Darshan Solanki was compelled to commit suicide due to caste-based discrimination, we do not know what is preventing the SIT from examining and investigating the issue from this angle,” the former Rajya Sabha member said.
The investigation conducted by the SIT so far does not inspire confidence and it is only an attempt to cover up the discrimination Darshan faced, he alleged.