Rameshbhai Solanki, father of a first-year BTech student from the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Bombay, who died by suicide in February, approached the Powai police station on Thursday seeking to file a case of murder.
The police directed Rameshbhai to approach the special investigation team (SIT) constituted by the Maharashtra government to probe the death.
The Powai police had earlier registered a report of accidental death in the case.
Stating that Darshan’s death occurred under “suspicious circumstances”, Rameshbhai sought that the FIR be registered under sections 302 (murder) and 306 (abetment of suicide) of the Indian Penal Code and under the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Crimes) Act. . In a written complaint to the police, Rameshbhai said, “The incident is being projected as a suicide. Less than an hour before his death, my son spoke to me and informed me of his plans to go out with his wing mates. However, he was found dead on campus. I am filing this complaint for lodging an FIR regarding my son’s death as we suspect that it is wrong.
The complaint alleged that an internal investigation by the IIT administration ignored various testimonies of caste discrimination, including that given by Darshan’s sister Janvi, and other students, and reduced the matter to “suicide due to academic pressure”.
“The SIT has been set up but we are seeking an FIR so that the caste-based discrimination against him can be investigated. We will continue to insist on an FIR,” Rameshbhai told the media outside the police station.
Several Dalit activists and Vanchit Bahujan Agadi workers accompanied the Solanki family to the police station. A senior police official said the SIT members had spoken to them. “SIT officials are talking to them and depending on the outcome of the discussion, necessary action will be taken,” the official added.
Darshan Solanki committed suicide on February 12, a day after his semester ended. He reportedly jumped from the seventh floor of Hostel 16 on campus, where he was staying.