Urgent safety upgrades to prevent suicide attempts in Indian colleges

Minute Mirror - Subscribe
Minute Mirror - Subscribe

Local authorities in an Indian city took action to address a series of student suicides by mandating that college hostels undergo refurbishments aimed at preventing incidents of students hanging themselves from ceiling fans.

The incidents occurred in Kota, a town located on the fringes of the desert in Rajasthan state. The area had long been a prominent center for private coaching institutes that catered to young individuals aspiring to gain admission into esteemed medical and engineering schools across the country. However, the city had also earned an unfavorable reputation due to the occurrence of multiple student suicides. This even led to the junior education minister of India facing questions about these tragic deaths during a parliamentary session last month.

In response, the Kota district administration took action on Thursday by issuing a directive to student accommodation establishments. They were instructed to reposition the bedroom ceiling fans in a manner that would prevent them from bearing the weight of a human. The official order stated, “To curb the rise in suicides among coaching students in Kota city, all operators of hostels and private guesthouses across the state were instructed to install a security spring device in the fans of each room.”

Media reports indicated that the city of Kota had hosted over 300 private colleges, attracting no fewer than 150,000 students from across the nation. Throughout the year, the city witnessed approximately twenty-four student suicides, marking an increase from the fifteen cases reported throughout the entirety of 2022.

The collection of suicide statistics in India remains incomplete and inconsistent. In the most recent year with available data, 2021, the National Crime Records Bureau reported that the nation had recorded over 164,000 instances of suicide-related deaths. Within this number, students constituted eight percent of the total, and reasons such as academic underperformance were often cited as contributing factors for their unfortunate demise.

In July, Subhas Sarkar, the deputy education minister of India, addressed the parliament, sharing that the government had enacted measures to support young individuals in managing the stress and emotional challenges associated with student life. Sarkar highlighted that universities and colleges had undertaken initiatives to enhance student well-being and contentment. Among these efforts, was the organization of regular yoga sessions, aiming to contribute to students’ happiness and overall wellness.

Muhammad Awais Raza is a student pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Sociology at the Government College University (GCU). Awais can be contacted via email at awaisrazasewag@gmail.com. He is also available on Twitter under the handle @Awais_raza512