In a heart-wrenching incident, Aishwarya, a student of Lady Shri Ram College for Women in Delhi committed suicide. This shocking incident happened on November 3 after this achiever failed to receive an installment of her scholarship that was due in March.
Belonging to Rangareddy district in Telangana, Aishwarya was the state class 12 examination topper. Her parents, who are daily wagers, had mortgaged their house to fund her higher education.
In the heartbreaking suicide note, she mentioned that she did not want to be a burden on her family and did not want a life without education. There are multiple protests that have been erupted demanding justice for her and her death. Her death has been labeled as “institutional murder”.
Aishwarya was receiving the INSPIRE scholarship from the Ministry of Science and Technology, Government of India. However, the scholarship was callously delayed by the government since March, putting her and her family under extreme financial pressure, a statement issued by the Student’s Federation of India (SFI) said.
While sharing the plight of his late daughter, the father Srinivas Reddy mentioned:
“It was not a free seat for her in LSR but she achieved it through merit. She was always a brilliant student. She topped her school in matriculation and came second in the town in the intermediate exams. And we were ready to go to any extent to support her education,”
The family had taken a loan of Rs 2 lakh after mortgaging their home and also pledged gold ornaments for her education, apart from debts incurred in setting up the bike mechanic shop just before the lockdown. As his business did not take off as expected, the family’s income crashed in the coming months.
This made his daughter worried about the financial requirements of two more years of college education and sustaining herself for another two years in Delhi while she prepared for UPSC exams.
Sumathi, who worked as a tailor from home, said Aishwarya was depressed after receiving a WhatsApp message asking to vacate her hostel room by end of October.
“Any private accommodation outside would cost at least Rs 15,000 per month. We needed more money towards a deposit amount, too. All this when we did not have money to buy her a train ticket to Delhi,” noted Sumathi.
Many netizens came forward to express their anger and sadness about the loss of this inspiring daughter:
LSR student,Aishwarya aspired to become an IAS officer.Her daily wage earning parents mortgaged their home, pledged gold ornaments.The family,hit by lockdown could not afford to buy her a laptop for her to pursue online classes. She died by suicide. This is tragic&heartbreaking https://t.co/kBMCs02YHM
This is really tragic. How, despite all the progress India has made since independence, we still have such cases in our midst. This despite affluence all around in Delhi. I hope there is a mechanism set up to provide support to needy students. @PMOIndia@ArvindKejriwal
It breaks our heart how we failed this young aspiring woman, who wanted to defy her circumstances to create a life of dignity for herself and her family. As we pray for her soul, we hope the authorities would take actions to not only provide justice to Aishwarya but also to make sure that no other kid meets the similar fate.
If you or someone you know needs help, call 1800-599-0019 to reach KIRAN, a 24/7 national helpline set by the Ministry of Social Justice.