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NLS Bangalore students mourn 2nd student suicide in just over two years • SBA works on mental health asssistance

Oldest NLU shocked by student suicide
Oldest NLU shocked by student suicide

A third-year student at NLSIU Bangalore, Kanishk Bharti, has taken his own life over the weekend, making this the second suicide at India’s oldest national law school a little over two years.

A student bar association (SBA) representative commented today: “The entire student body is deeply saddened by his untimely demise. To have one of our 500-odd family leave us in this manner is unimaginably distressing.

“Our prayers and condolences are with the friends and family who are coping with the tragic loss.”

A condolence meeting was taking place at college earlier today.

In November 2016, another third year student at NLSIU Bangalore had reportedly committed suicide. She had been suffering from a long and painful illness.

India has the unfortunate distinction of one of the highest suicide rates in the world, especially amongst students and young people, for whom suicide is the most common cause of death.

Law schools have not been immune. In 2018, a student had killed themselves at NLU Jabalpur, NLU Delhi saw a suicide attempt. In 2016, one Amity Law School Delhi student had committee suicide.

NUJS Kolkata saw a suicide in 2012 purportedly over exam pressures, resulting in the hiring of a psychotherapist on campus.

The 2009 judicial review of NLSIU, had also raised suicides as an issue, albeit in a rather preachy way: “The young minds, in the absence of beneficent control and interactive relationship with the teachers, have become an easy prey to all sorts of evil practices of smoking, drinking, drug abuse, sex, etc., resulting into terrible stress, dreadful depression, at least two cases of suicides and a dozen of attempted suicides, and even a murder!”

It may be easy to blame the high-pressure and highly-competitive environment at elite residential law universities and a lack of adequate social and institutional support, but the problems and causes are likely to be more complex.

The NLS SBA representative said today: “We are working on the mental health facilities on campus for students to seek help in coping with stress and sadness that could be debilitating.”

Outgoing vice chancellor (VC) Venkata Rao has not responded to several of our requests for comment or a statement.

If you or someone you know needs help, please consider contacting any of a number of Indian NGOs dealing with suicide prevention listed here.

Photo by Smuconlaw.

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