A 16-year-old student, who was preparing for the National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET) for admission in undergraduate medical courses, allegedly died by suicide at his coaching institute in Rajasthan’s Kota on Sunday, police said.
According to police records, Sunday’s suicide is the fifth such incident in the district among students preparing for competitive exams, mostly NEET and Joint Entrance Examination (JEE), this month and the 22nd this year, which is also the highest in eight years. Sixteen of the cases were reported in the past four months alone.
Police said the teen from Maharashtra died by suicide at his coaching institute in Vigyan Nagar after appearing for a scheduled weekly test in the afternoon.
“No suicide note was found and a preliminary report did not suggest any behavioural changes,” circle officer Dharmaveer Singh said.
“The body has been sent to the district medical college hospital for an autopsy and a forensic science laboratory (FSL) team was sent to the spot for further investigations,” he added.
The student had arrived in the district in 2021 and was staying with his grandparents at a rented house, police said.
There was no immediate statement from the coaching institute on the incident.
Meanwhile, a girl, preparing for the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) examination allegedly died by suicide in Rajasthan’s Hanumangarh district on Saturday, news agency ANI reported on Sunday.
“A girl died by suicide yesterday. She had been living in a girls’ hostel along with other girls since June and was taking online classes for IAS preparation…We have found a note and we are examining it. We have sent the body for post-mortem and have registered a morgue based on a report given by her father… Further investigating the case is underway,” Vedpal Singh, circle inspector, Hanumangarh told ANI.
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. Students from around the country arrive here in huge numbers after completing Class X, and register in residential test-prep institutes. They also enrol in schools, most of which are largely for purposes of certification.
Students attend classes only in the test-prep institutes, which prepare them for their Class XII examination, but more importantly, entrance examinations such as NEET and JEE. Some students find the grind stressful, especially because they are away from their families.
On August 15, an 18-year-old student from Bihar, who was preparing for JEE for admission in engineering courses, allegedly died by suicide in his paying guest (PG) accommodation in the district’s Mahaveer Nagar area.
On August 11, a 17-year-old JEE aspirant, also from Bihar, died by suicide in a hostel in Mahaveer Nagar. On August 4, another 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 died by suicide in Vigyan Nagar.
According to police data, 15 students died by suicide in Kota in 2022, 18 in 2019, 20 in 2018, seven in 2017, 17 in 2016, and 18 in 2015. No suicide took place in 2020 and 2021.
On August 18, chief minister Ashok Gehlot had expressed concerns over the surge in suicides among students preparing for competitive exams in Kota district and directed officials to form a committee to suggest measures to keep a check on such cases.
“There should not be any further rise in such (suicide) cases… time has come for improvement. We cannot see young students committing suicide… the death of even one kid is unfortunate and is a huge loss for parents,” Gehlot said.
The Kota district administration, on August 17, ordered all hostels and PG accommodations to install spring-loaded fans in all rooms and “to provide students mental support and security”.
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.
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