A special team of Central Crime Branch of Chennai police, which is investigating the suicide by first year IIT student Fathima Latheef on Nov 9 last, has decided to visit her native place Kollam and meet her mother.
Her father Abdul Latheef and sister Ayesha have already met Chennai police. Abdul Latheef has even met the DGP as well as Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edappadi K Palanisami. The team headed by Additional Commisisoner K Easwaramoorthi and Deputy Commissioner Megalina has already summoned three professors whom Fathima in her suicide note has named as her tormentors. It has gone through her emails as well as her social media contacts.
The laptop as well as the mobile phone in which Fathima has left the suicide note has been sent to forensic department for testing. The report is yet to come. As Fathima was a brilliant student, police do not believe that she could have been driven to suicide because she had been awarded low marks in a semester test by one of the humanities professors.
They also do not think that she was home sick as she had joined the course hardly six months and she had just come from Kollam after Pooja holidays in October. A PG student who stayed close to Fathima’s hostel room has also said: “to my knowledge, she was not lonely and she used to be in regular touch with her family”. Fathima was in the habit of writing a kind of digital diary in her mobile’s Note app. In that there was no specific mention that she was being discriminated on religious grounds, though she mentioned three professors as being rude to students.
Alfiya Jose, an IIT Madras research fellow has, however, said in a Facebook posting:” This campus, particularly the Department of Humanities and Social Sciences, is ridden with anti-Muslim and anti-caste sentiments."
The police team wants to meet Fathima’s mother to get further insight into her character-- whether she was sensitive or tough. Meanwhile, two IIT students who went on a strike on Monday to press for an internal enquiry, called it off on Tuesday after Dean of the Faculty agreed to set up an internal redressal committee in each department and to take up with the director upon his return the second demand for an enquiry into three faculty members named by Fathima.