Rohith redux? PhD student attempts suicide in Hyderabad after 'discrimination'

Praneta Jha | First published: 19 November 2016, 20:32 IST
PhD student Moses Abraham attempted suicide at University of Hyderabad
Malik/Catch News

It hasn't even been a year since Rohith Vemula's infamous suicide at the University of Hyderabad (UoH). But the discrimination that forced him to take the extreme step still seems prevalent at the university.

On Friday, 18 November, a 27-year-old PhD scholar at UoH, Moses Abraham, attempted suicide by slitting his wrist in front of his research supervisor's office.

The student took this step after his research guide, Professor G Vaitheeswaran, refused to supervise him any further and humiliated him, said students.

On Saturday, the UoH Students' Union staged a protest before the university's administration block, demanding an inquiry into the incident, as well as a proper institutional mechanism to deal with such cases, and to end discrimination.

University of Hyderabad students protest
Photo: University of Hyderabad Students' Union/Facebook
Students protest outside the University of Hyderabad administrative block on Saturday.

How things unfolded

On Thursday, there was a research seminar where Abraham, who is working on Condense Theory Solid State Physics for his thesis, gave a presentation before his guide.

After Abraham presented his research, he was reportedly humiliated by Vaitheeswaran, who was apparently not happy with the presentation. Some sources also said Abraham had to come to the seminar a few minutes late.

After the seminar, Vaitheeswaran told Abraham that he could not work with him anymore, and that he should find someone else to guide him.

On Friday, between 4.45pm and 5pm, Abraham slit his wrist with a razor blade in front of Vaitheeswaran's office at the ACRHEM building.

Around 5pm, Abraham was rushed to the campus health centre, and given medical aid.

He was then sent to a psychiatrist at Asha Hospital for counselling, and returned later in the evening to his flat. Abraham stays outside campus with a friend.

It has been reported that Vaitheeswaran had not allowed Abraham to attend seminars or publish papers earlier as well, despite the student having two published papers in reputed academic journals. The veracity of this particular allegation could not be established by Catch.

Pro-VC versus students' union