BANGALORE: Angered by the alleged inefficiency of the authorities of PES Institute of Technology (PESIT), students pelted stones at the college building following the suicide of Pranay Singh, a III semester B E (E&C) student, on Tuesday.
Pranay Singh hanged himself around 2 am on Tuesday in his hostel room. The incident came to light only around 7.30 am, after his friends, suspecting foul play broke into his room. According to the students, the hostel warden stood idle for half an hour without taking any action. Principal Prof K N Balasubramanya Murthy arrived around the same time and informed the police, who reached the spot at around 9.30 am.
His body was taken to KIMS later, where the postmortem report suggested death due to choking.
Students alleged that the authorities did not swing into action immediately. “The authorities were callous. There was no immediate action from their side though the body was seen hanging,” alleged a student.
Enraged by the alleged inaction of authorities, students took law into their hands, which demanded increased police security. “What were the officials doing for nearly 4 hours after his body was found? The body was moved around 12 noon. Why this delay?” questioned an agitated student.
Students from Pranay’s branch claimed that the academic pressure was the reason behind his extreme step. “We had exams in the past two weeks. And a few more are due in the next week. Pranay used to study well. He was weak in a few subjects and was ineligible to sit for the main exams,” said a student.
According to PESIT examination norms, a student has to score a minimum of 20 out of 50 internal marks to attempt the main exam. Reportedly, Pranay was not eligible, driving him to take this extreme step.
“I have been told that he was a bright student. There may be a little academic pressure in engineering course. But, I do not think that academic pressure was the reason,” Prof Murthy told Express.
As students started mobbing, rumours that Pranay was a drug addict did the rounds. Students alleged that the college authorities were branding Pranay as a junkie to downplay the academic pressure.
“We have lot of pressure. Pranay was a good student. Now, the authorities are labelling him a drug addict,” alleged a student.
Clearing the air about the rumour, Prof Murthy said, “There is no truth in this. Pranay was not into drugs. No one from the management has made such a statement.”
KSRP Contingent Arrives
Students became unruly after a prolonged delay by Prof D Jawahar, president, PESIT, to address the students. Meanwhile, following the incidents of stone-pelting and verbal abuse, a unit of Karnataka State Reserve Police (KSRP) entered the campus. “We are here to protect students and property from being attacked. We will withdraw the unit and stand aside if the students assure not to take matters into their hands,” a police official told Express.
Around 1 pm, Prof Jawahar addressed the students, when some started to pelt stones and did not allow him to speak, Sonia Narang, DCP, Bangalore (South), stepped in to handle the situation.
Prof Jawahar first announced the suspension of the hostel warden.
He said, “It has been brought to my notice that Pranay lost his life to due the negligence of the authorities. I am placing the warden under suspension. I will write to VTU to scrap minimum marks in internals. I will make sure PESIT would not implement any rule that is outside VTU,” he said.
He said a hostel committee would be formed with students. “Everything I am saying now will be documented, duly signed by me and put up on all notice boards,” said Prof Jawahar.
Prof M R Doreswamy, founder, PESIT, said it was an unfortunate incident.