A second-year student of Lady Shri Ram College for Women, Aishwarya Reddy committed suicide last week at her hometown in Telangana as her parents were unable to pay for her education due to Covid-19. Her father, who is a motorcycle mechanic in Ranga Reddy district said the family was unable even to buy her a second-hand laptop to pursue online classes during the pandemic.
According to local police, Aishwarya, who was a B.Sc. Mathematics (Honours) student, hanged herself at her home in Shadnagar on November 2, 2020. The 19-year-old had scored 98.5 percent in Class 12. She had left behind a note written in Telugu. The note reads, “Because of me, my family is facing many financial problems. I am a burden for my family. My education is a burden. If I can’t study, I can’t live.”
Her father Srinivas Reddy said that when Aishwarya got admission to the prestigious college last year, he had mortgaged their one-bedroom house for Rs 2 lakh. “I am still repaying the loan,” said Reddy, who opened his own repair shop this March.
“I had to shut within a month due to the lockdown and although I reopened, business has been slow. My daughter had returned home in February after the college closed. In October, she asked if I could buy her a laptop as online classes had started and she was finding it difficult to attend them on her phone. She said even a used laptop would do. I told her to wait for a few days. She did not ask again. A few days later, she mentioned that the scholarship amount she was supposed to receive was delayed,” he told IE.
LSR principal Suman Sharma said, “It is a huge loss for us and it is very unfortunate that we were unable to help her. However, she had never approached any teacher from the mathematics department or hostel authorities with her issues. The college has many schemes and scholarships but she never asked for assistance. We also have many mechanisms for mental health help, but unfortunately she had not reached out for those either.”
Aishwarya was also a recipient of the Ministry of Science and Technology’s INSPIRE scholarship, which offers three scholarship schemes: for undergraduate and postgraduate, as well as PhD scholars and faculty members. The scholarships are available for up to five years.
According to a letter received from DST by Aishwarya, dated August 6, 2020, it said that she had been “provisionally selected” for the higher education scholarship. It said the release of the annual fund of Rs 80,000 was subject to submission of bank account details and Aadhaar card copy before December 31, 2020.
Aishwarya’s father said that she was asked to vacate her hostel room in October. The LSR hostel is only available for first-year students. “Arrangements had to be made to move to a hired accommodation. I told her not to worry and that I will manage the money, though I had no idea where from. On November 2, she insisted on feeding me with her own hand. And then she took the extreme step,” Reddy said.
Source: The Indian ExpressNational, News