Durgesh Nandan Jha, TNN | Mar 5, 2012

NEW DELHI: A first-year MBBS student at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences, who hailed from a village in Rajasthan and was the second topper in the Scheduled Tribe category at the all-India medical entrance test, allegedly committed suicide by hanging himself from the ceiling fan of his hostel room on Saturday.

Anil Kumar Meena, 22, was reportedly struggling to cope with the English-medium teaching at the institute. His friends and family members alleged that Anil, the son of a tribal farmer in Baran district, had been facing discrimination at the institute due to his rural background and Hindi-medium education.

MBBS students at AIIMS have decided to boycott classes from Monday, demanding the resignation of institute director, Dr R C Deka, over Anil’s death. Anil was depressed for the past few days as he had failed to clear his first-year exams and was to reappear as a fresh candidate for the semester tests starting Monday.

Deputy Commissioner of Police (South) Chaya Sharma said Anil had locked himself up in his hostel room throughout Saturday. “His concerned friends called the security guard and made him look through the room ventilator on Sunday morning. The guard found him hanging. No suicide note was found,” she said.

Sharma said the body had been sent for post mortem and that cops were probing all angles.

Anil had got admission in the 2010-11 batch but he was barred from taking the final exam due to low attendance. He was asked to take supplementary exams three months later in which he failed.

Exam stress: Second suicide at AIIMS in 2 years

Anil Kumar Meena’s friends expressed shock at his suicide. “We played cricket together on Friday afternoon. After that, he also came over to my hostel room in the night to watch a comedy serial. Though he was sad over his poor results, he did not appear suicidal,” said Rajendra Ghunawat, a second-year student who was the first person to inform other hostel mates about Anil not coming out of his room. Ghunawat said he last saw Anil around 2.30am on Saturday when he went to the first floor of the hostel to fetch water.

“He was sitting silently and did not respond to my call. I left thinking he might be sleepy. We did not see him the next day and finally called the guards on Sunday,” he said.Omesh Meena, the victim’s cousin, claimed that the teachers had declared at the last moment that only 50% marks of the main exam will be counted and the rest will be from internal assessment.

“Anil was a bright student. He scored 75% marks in senior secondary school and had second rank in AIPMT 2010 in the ST category. Because he was from a Hindi medium background, he faced problems understanding the lectures. He was also taking private tuitions in English,” he said. “Anil missed a lot of classes in the first year because teachers did not really help him overcome the language barrier and he felt humiliated,” Omesh claimed. AIIMS Students’ Union president Tungish Bansal held the institute director morally responsible for Anil’s death.

“This is the second death of an MBBS student over exam-related issues. Two years ago, a final-year had committed suicide. But no remedial measures have been taken. The director refused to meet the victim despite several attempts made by him over the past 10 days,” said Bansal. Students took out a candlelight march on Sunday evening and gheraoed AIIMS director R C Deka, demanding his resignation. Deka did not respond to TOI’s calls.Rani Kumar, the dean of examinations at AIIMS said there was no caste-based discrimination and the institute had taken several measures like forming a stress management committee to look into problems faced by students.