Kolkata: The body of a third-year IIT Kharagpur student was discovered hanging in her hostel on Monday, according to police. The student has been identified as 21-year-old Devika Pillai, a senior police officer told news agency PTI.

“The female student was found hanging from the ceiling of the hostel building. Whether it is a case of suicide or something else is yet to be ascertained. We have started an investigation of the death,” the IPS officer said.

The police had earlier stated that the student was a fourth-year student. The body has been sent to Kharagpur Sub-Divisional Hospital for post-mortem examination, the officer added.

Confirming the news, IIT Kharagpur stated that Devika Pillai, a third-year student in the Department of Biotechnology, was found hanging in the Sarojini Naidu/Indira Gandhi Hall premises on the morning of June 17, 2024.

“With a sense of utter shock, the students, staff, and faculty members of IIT Kharagpur deeply mourn the sudden loss of Devika Pillai. She was found hanging in her Sarojini Naidu/Indira Gandhi Hall premises in the morning of June 17, 2024. Upon discovery of the incident, the campus security and medical teams were immediately alerted. District police authorities have been informed. Her family has also been informed immediately,” the statement said.

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When asked if it was a case of suicide or if foul play was suspected, the institute spokesperson said, “The police are conducting a thorough investigation into the circumstances surrounding Pillai’s death. The institute is fully cooperating with the authorities.” 

Recalling that Pillai was an academically gifted student with a promising future in biosciences and biotechnology, the institute noted she was the general secretary of social and cultural activities at Sarojini Naidu/Indira Gandhi Hall. She was also pursuing a summer internship under the Department of Bioscience and Biotechnology.

“IIT Kharagpur is committed to the well-being and mental health of its students. We have a range of support services available, including counselling and mental health resources, and we urge students to utilize these services whenever needed,” the spokesperson added.

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