‘90% suicides in IITs are of SC/ST students’

On a CNBC discussion last night, while talking of Arjun Singh‘s relentless efforts to push in the 27 per cent reservation quota for OBCs, seemingly unmindful of the consequences, the economist and journalist Prem Shankar Jha stopped the anchor Karan Thapar from interrupting him and made an astounding claim:

“The majority of those who commit suicide in the IITs are those belonging to the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes.”

Over the phone this morning, Jha confirmed saying that. He said a friend in the IIT had put the figure close to 90 per cent. In other words, nine out of every ten students who have ended their lives in the Indian Institutes of Technology are SCs and STs.

Truth to tell, it is not as if students are killing themselves in the IITs by the drove. Still, a death is a death. Statistically speaking, if even a single student commits suicide and he belongs to the SCs/STs, it will go down as 100 per cent.

Can Jha’s claim be true? Is there any solid research to prove this number? And if it’s true, has anyone tried to find out why it is happening and how further suicides can be prevented?

“There’s so much pressure put on the SC/ST students that they can’t cope. You’re throwing them in the same water and expecting them to compete. In a place where the average IQ is said to be in the range of 140, it places enormous pressure on those who can’t measure up.

“We make bad policy [like extended reservations] but don’t think about the net result of it. For instance, I would be interested to know how many SCs and STs, who have graduated from the IITs, have gone on to higher educational institutions like MIT.”