NIT Silchar Campus Turns Protest Site After Student's Suicide

A NIT Silchar student allegedly died by suicide on the campus, following which his classmates began a protest that eventually turned violent, prompting the police to lathi charge, officials said on Saturday

Oshi Saxena
Sep 16, 2023 15:52 IST
File Image of NIT Silchar Campus (Credits - NIT Slichar Facebook Page)

File image of NIT Silchar Campus, Assam. (Credits - NIT Silchar Facebook Page)

In the confines of the Silchar National Institute of Technology (NIT) in Assam, an atmosphere of academic pursuit and youthful exuberance was suddenly shattered by an unimaginable tragedy.

On a fateful Friday night, the tranquil campus was thrust into chaos as students found themselves entangled in a violent clash with the police. This lamentable turn of events unfolded in the wake of the heart-wrenching death of a third-year electrical engineering student, Koj Buker, who had allegedly taken his own life within the institute's hallowed grounds.

1. A Life Cut Short

The discovery of Koj Buker's lifeless body, hanging in the confines of hostel-7, sent shockwaves through the institute. For nearly two agonising hours, the students, gripped by grief and frustration, prevented the authorities from taking away their fallen comrade. It was a poignant testament to the emotional turmoil that had engulfed the campus.

2. Escalation and Unrest

As the night unfolded, the situation took a darker turn. Anguish transformed into anger, and a group of students allegedly resorted to vandalising the residences of senior professors. The conflict escalated further as they clashed with the police, ultimately leading to injuries sustained by around 40 students when the police had to employ lathi charges to control the turmoil.


3. Seeking Answers and Accountability

The district superintendent of police, Numal Mahatta, as per media reports, expressed concern over the escalating violence and vowed to investigate the matter thoroughly. Legal actions were being considered against the students for their alleged involvement in vandalizing government property, assaulting government officials, and engaging in other illegal activities.

4. Injuries and Trauma

Amidst the chaos, the injured students were rushed to Silchar Medical College and Hospital (SMCH) for treatment. According to SMCH records, at least 40 students received medical attention, with some injuries being quite severe.

5. A Desperate Bid for Success

Buker, a young man hailing from Arunachal Pradesh, had been struggling academically. His difficulties began during the first semester of 2021 when classes transitioned to the online format due to lockdowns. Trapped at home without reliable internet access, he found himself unable to attend classes, accumulating six backlogs in the process.


6. A Cry for Help Ignored

According to fellow students, Buker's situation took a turn for the worse when he was barred from attending classes in the fifth semester and allegedly humiliated by the dean in front of his peers. Desperate to clear his backlogs, he had appealed to Professor BK Roy for a special examination but was met with disdain. Ultimately, Buker locked himself in his room, and it was there that his life came to a tragic end.

7. A Tale of Academic Struggles

As per media reports, Silchar NIT director, Dilip Kumar Baidya, expressed his condolences for Buker but also acknowledged his poor academic performance. He emphasised that while they sympathised with the young man, they couldn't entertain illegitimate demands. Baidya hinted at a deeper undercurrent behind the violence and anticipated that the investigation would reveal more.

8. Allegations and Denials

In the aftermath of the tragedy, students alleged inhumane treatment by the dean and other officials. Director Baidya, however, vehemently denied these allegations, setting the stage for a contentious investigation.


9. Investigation Underway

In response to the harrowing events, Cachar's district commissioner, Rohan Kumar Jha, formed a committee to investigate the matter. He expressed deep concern over the violence and hinted at the possibility of temporarily closing the institute if the situation did not improve.

10. The Students' Determination

The protesting students, undeterred by the events of that fateful night, resolved to continue their fight for justice in a democratic manner. Their resolve was unwavering, fueled by a deep sense of injustice and the loss of a fellow student. In the wake of the violence and clashes with the police, a company of the Central Reserve Police Force was deployed to NIT Silchar's campus. However, according to the students, they intend to persist with their protest on Saturday in a democratic manner.

Additionally, India faces a concerning issue of rising suicide cases in colleges due to academic pressure and a lack of mental health support. Within seven months in 2023, at least 20 students studying in central educational institutions have died by suicide, revealing a pressing need for reforms in handling academic stress.

As the NIT Silchar community grapples with the aftermath of these distressing events, it is a stark reminder of the challenges faced by students in pursuit of their dreams, and the responsibility of institutions to provide support during their academic journey. In these trying times, the hope for resolution and healing prevails, even amidst the darkest of circumstances.


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