Updated May 2nd, 2024 at 14:01 IST

Disturbing Reality of IIT Student Suicides: 115 IITians Died Since 2005, Highest Case in IIT Madras

115 students of IIT have died by suicide since 2005. Among these tragic incidents, 98 occurred on campus, including 56 deaths by hanging, and 17 off-campus.

Reported by: Nandini Verma
Representative Image | Image:iStock

Startling revelations have emerged from data obtained through a Right to Information (RTI) query filed by Dheeraj Singh, an alumnus of IIT Kanpur and founder of the Global IIT Alumni Support Group. The data exposes a grim reality: since 2005, a staggering 115 students of the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) have died by suicide. Among these tragic incidents, 98 occurred on campus, including 56 deaths by hanging, while 17 took place off-campus.

The catalyst for Singh's RTI application was the tragic demise of IIT Bombay student Darshan Solanki on February 12, 2023. Prompted by this heartbreaking event, Singh embarked on a mission to uncover the extent of student suicides within the IIT community over the past two decades.


According to the data, spanning from 2005 to 2024, IIT Madras recorded the highest number of deaths at 26, followed by 18 in IIT Kanpur, 13 in IIT Kharagpur, and 10 in IIT Bombay. Shockingly, five deaths have been reported this year alone.

Singh's pursuit of transparency faced initial hurdles when the higher education department, under the union ministry of education, rejected his application and requested separate RTIs for individual institutes. However, after an appeal, the ministry directed all IITs to disclose the data.


Despite concerted efforts, only 13 out of 23 IITs provided data to Singh over eight months. Resorting to multiple sources, including National Crime Record Bureau statistics and parliamentary inquiries, Singh pieced together a comprehensive picture of the tragic occurrences.

The distressing trend of student suicides at IITs has raised serious concerns and ignited debates on the underlying causes. Singh emphasizes the immense pressure faced by students in these premier institutions, advocating for urgent reforms to alleviate academic and social stressors.


Internal surveys conducted by various IIT student organizations revealed that 61% of respondents attributed student deaths to academic stress, followed by job insecurity (12%), family issues (10%), and harassment (6%). Such findings underscore the urgent need for systemic changes to prioritize student well-being.

In response to Solanki's tragic death, the University Grants Commission and other authorities issued advisories to promote physical fitness, sports, and prioritize students' mental and emotional well-being. However, more concerted efforts are required to address the multifaceted challenges facing IIT students and foster a supportive campus environment.


As discussions continue on the need for holistic interventions, including mental health programs and academic reforms, the revelations from Singh's RTI data serve as a sobering reminder of the urgent imperative to safeguard the well-being of students within India's prestigious institutions.



Published May 2nd, 2024 at 13:20 IST