IIT Madras, India’s premier engineering institute was shocked today after the charred body of a guest lecturer was found on the campus. On further probe, a suicide note left by the deceased project staff was also found. While suicides and deaths of students at engineering institutes are unfortunately not unheard of, a drastic measure of immolation is truly hair raising.


On Thursday night, July 1, the Kotthupuram Police was called by the Indian Institute of Technology, Madras, after a charred body was found on the college campus. On further probe, the body was identified to be of Unnikrishnan Nair, who was working in IIT-M as a temporary project staff and guest lecturer.

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Students find charred body near hockey stadium

According to reports, Nair, had returned to the campus on Thursday morning from Kerala. The next day, his charred body was found by some students near the hockey stadium at the campus. After the Kotthupuram police came to the campus and identified the body, they sent it to the Government Royapettah Hospital for autopsy.

Suicide Note Found, Unnikrishnan was the son of ISRO Employee

Reports claim that Nair, who was the son of an ISRO (Indian Space Research Organization) employee, lived outside the college campus and used to stay in Velachery, Chennai with 2 other roommates. NDTV quoted, a police official familiar with the matter saying-

“The man has been identified as Unnikrishnan. He was on a project at IIT Madras. He has left a note saying he was unable to cope with work.”

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IIT-Madras Issues Statement

After the unfortunate incident, the institute issued a statement saying-

“An unfortunate and tragic incident occurred yesterday at IIT Madras Campus, involving a temporary project staff. The project staff whose body was found had joined the Institute in April 2021 and was living outside the campus.”

The statement further read-

“We are shocked and deeply grieved, and convey our heartfelt condolences to the family, friends and colleagues of the departed soul.”

Student Suicides in India – What the data says

As per the data compiled by NCRB (National Crime Records Bureau), every hour 1 student commits suicide in the nation with 28 suicides on an average reported every day. Further, the NCRB data also states how 10,159 students gave their lives away in 2018, a surge from 2017 where 9,905 students killed themselves.

Further reports of suicides at premier institutes such as IITs and NITs also reflect the Indian eductation system’s inattentive attitude towards mental health. According to Ministry of Human Resource Development, a total of 27 students across the IITs took their lives just between the years 2014 and 2019.

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Most number of Suicides from IIT Madras

The report of the guest lecturer and research scholar Unnikrishnan Nair reiterates the data which states that IIT Madras tops the list of most number of students killing themselves in the 2014-2019 period. As many as 7 students decided to end their lives in that period, succumbing to challenging circumstances.

IIT-M Faculty Resigns after Alleged Caste Discrimination

Another report of glaring human rights abuse emerged from IIT Madras where an assistant professor Vipin Veetil resigned from his post over alleged caste discrimination.

In an email that surfaced, and has been making the rounds of the Internet, the faculty of Economics Department claimed that

“the discrimination came from individuals in position of power irrespective of their claimed political affiliations and gender.”

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The faculty member also suggested the institute to form a committee that studies the experiences faced by faculty members of the SC and OBC. In his mail, he also urged people to file complaints if they experience caste-based discrimination.