Mohanpur (Nadia), April 6: Police have begun a probe against a professor of IISER-Kolkata’s Physical Science Department for abetting a research scholar to commit suicide.
On Wednesday police brought charges against Professor Chiranjib Mitra based on a complaint lodged by Ranjana Roy, mother of the deceased research-scholar Subhadip Roy, in which she has accused him of “continued negligence” and “mental torture” on her son that led him to end life.
Apart from charges of abetment, police in the FIR have also accused the Professor of ‘willful misrepresentation’ and ‘willful concealment of fact which is bound to be disclosed.
The suspected role of the accused professor came to light only after the IISER Kolkata authorities officially acknowledged the recovery of a suicide note purportedly written by Subhadip, a final year student of integrated Ph.D, who was found dead inside the physics laboratory on April 4 afternoon under mysterious circumstances. Over a dozen of empty containers of Demoscanil Lime Sulfur, a pet medicine for external anti-fungal treatment, were found lying near the body.
The note confirmed that the Subhadip committed suicide as he held his guide Professor Chiranjib Mitra for his death. This eventually prompted her mother to complain against the Professor, who went absconding a little after police began the probe treating the complaint as FIR. In the suicide note Subhadip written: “Professor Chiranjib Mitra is responsible for my death. He could not guide me properly. He doesn’t do any research. He doesn’t read any paper”.
Sayak Das, Superintendent of Police of Ranaghat Police district, “We have received a complaint from the researcher’s mother. We have also recovered a suicide note and some empty containers of suspected chemicals which are being examined along with the role of the accused professor. The suicide note is being examined by experts. The accused has not been arrested as of now”.
IISER Kolkata Director Sourav Pal said, “Law would take its course. We will urge the police to complete the probe as fast as possible. At the same time, we will constitute an internal fact-finding committee which would talk to the students for a solution to their grievances”.
Subhadip’s mother Ranjana Roy has meanwhile, demanded immediate arrest of the accused guide. “The Professor since meeting me tried to put up different stories. But my son was compelled to end his life only due to tremendous mental torture unleashed by Professor Mitra”, she stated in her complaint.
Speaking to NfN the bereaved mother said, “He is a killer and needed to be arrested soon so that other teachers like him become alert and lives of many meritorious students of this country like my son for whom government spends so much money for scientific research works are not lost forever”.
The students and researchers at the IISER Kolkata campus have launched an agitation from Wednesday morning suspending all academic and research activities with similar demand terming the alleged suicide as ‘murder’.
They began sit-in demonstration from 7 in the morning boycotting food and did not allow any officials and faculty members to move out of the campus demanding the arrest of the accused guide.
Earlier on Tuesday night around seven hundred students and researchers organized a candle march inside the campus demanding ‘justice’ for Subhadip. The demonstration was temporarily withdrawn in the evening only after Director Sourav Pal met them and assured them to sort out their grievances.
Acknowledging drawbacks on the part of many guides, IISER K Director Professor Pal said, “I will assure that there would be no problem in pursuing
their PhD. We will develop a mechanism so that students don’t suffer from any sort of negligence by their guides”.
“It is still hard to believe that a person, who led the students from the front as the secretary Students Affairs Committee and personally saved many students and researchers from depression, could himself take such a step. It is presumed how much he suffered. We need an end to such mental torture and arrest of the culprit immediately”, a Ph.D. scholar said.
Subhadip’s mother Ranjana Roy said, “Professor Mitra made my son to serve him. My son who was working on quantum physics hardly could do his research work since his guide made him the laboratory in charge and compelled him to guide other students and researchers junior to him. The guide also refused him to provide necessary instruments required for his research works and threatened him even to deny him the Ph.D. unless he acts as per his directive”.
“I told him on many occasions to make adjustments with him. But I could not understand that the guide was torturing my son so horribly”, the bereaved mother added.
Accused guide, Professor Chiranjib Mitra, however, was not available for comment. Repeated calls made to his mobile phone remained unanswered.
Meanwhile, on Wednesday with the permission of his mother, some close friends organized the final rituals – the Shraddha ceremony of Subhadip at the IISER Kolkata campus. Basabendra Roy, a close friend, and batchmate of Subhadip performed the rituals as per the direction of a priest held on the bank of a pond located inside the campus.