JEE aspirant dies by suicide in Kota, 20th such case this year: Cops
Kota has an average of three suicides per month among students, and has already matched the 2018 record.
A 17-year-old student, who was preparing for the Joint Entrance Examination (JEE) for admission in engineering courses, died by suicide in Rajasthan’s Kota on Thursday night, police said on Friday, taking the overall number of such instances in the district to 20 this year.
Data available with the district administration showed Kota recorded an average of three suicides per month among such students this year. It also showed that the total count of suicides this year has already matched the 2018 record of 20 such cases in a year. Another such suicide this year would make 2023 have the highest number of such cases.
According to police, the teen from Bihar arrived in Kota six months ago and was staying in a hostel in Mahaveer Nagar.
“The student’s father was staying with him for the past three days. The teen took the extreme step hours after his father left the district,” Shivraj Singh, station house officer (SHO) of Jawahar Nagar police station, said.
The incident came to light after a caretaker went to check on him following his father’s request as he was not responding to phone calls, Singh added.
The SHO said no suicide note was found and preliminary probe did not suggest any behavioural changes in the student. The body has been sent to the district medical college hospital for an autopsy, he said.
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Kota is the centre of India’s test-prep business, estimated to be worth ₹5,000 crore annually, according to officials in the district administration.
On August 4, a 17-year-old engineering aspirant from Bihar died by suicide in Mahaveer Nagar. A day earlier on August 3, a NEET aspirant from Uttar Pradesh allegedly died by suicide in Vigyan Nagar. Police said both the deceased had arrived in Kota four months ago.
According to data available with the district administration, 15 students died by suicide last year, 18 in 2019, 20 in 2018, 7 in 2017, 17 in 2016, and 18 in 2015.
“There appears to be a new pattern after the coronavirus pandemic as students are found resorting to such steps within months of arriving in Kota. Earlier, students would stay for years and resort to such measures when exams are nearing or the results are scheduled to be published,” a police officer who did not wish to be named said.
A surge in such suicide cases has prompted the state government to consider a law to regulate private educational institutes – from schools to universities to test-prep specialists – and ease the academic pressure on students, especially those enrolled in private coaching centres or online tutorials.
Additionally, the state police department on June 22 set up a students’ cell, comprising an additional superintendent of police, three inspectors or sub-inspectors or assistant sub-inspectors and six constables, including female cops, to hold regular interactions and keep a check on students across coaching centres.