Two more students died by suicide today in Rajasthan’s Kota –the hub of country’s aspiring engineers, doctors and civil servants. Avishkar Shubhangi was studying was NEET, the common medical entrance exam. A student from Bihar, Adarsh, has died too, the police said. Their deaths take the number of suicides this year to 23 — highest since 2018. Alarmed, the collector of Kota, OP Bunkar, issued an advisory saying there will be no tests for a month at the coaching institutes.
Avishkar Shubhangi was from Maharashtra and was staying with his grandparents in Kota. He had jumped from the sixth floor of the coaching institute after taking a test. He was taken to the hospital where they declared him dead, the police said.
In the evening, Adarsh died by hanging at Kunaddi. The police are at the spot.
“This boy was studying for his medical entrance and also for class 12 his grandparents lived here with him. He had an exam today. He finished the exam five minutes early and then jumped from the sixth floor,” said Dharamvir Singh, the Deputy Superintendent of Police.
Data shows the suicides have gone up by 60 per cent since the Covid pandemic, setting off an alarming trend.
Very few students had died during the pandemic. In 2018, 12 deaths were reported and the year before, 10. Last year, 15 students had died by suicide.
Last week, a student was hospitalised after he consumed 15 tablets meant for reducing fever “by mistake”. His friend said he was depressed after scoring low marks in a test.
Hostels in Kota are now installing spring-loaded fans and “anti-suicide nets” in balconies and lobbies to prevent students from taking any extreme step.
Asked if such measures would address the key issue of stress, a police officer said they are also taking psychological tests and establishing communication with parents.
“However, measures like spring-loaded fans can be helpful in preventing any attempt being made in the heat of the moment by a student. Once that attempt is unsuccessful, students can be counselled and other measures can be implemented too,” Deputy Commissioner OP Bunkar was quoted as saying by news agency Press Trust of India.
Over 2 lakh students move to Kota each year to prepare for competitive entrance exams.