A total 10,159 students committed suicide in 2018 in India, highest number ever in the category, according to the latest data by National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB). While the number of students committing suicides has been surging year after year, it is important to understand the enormous distress among the students across the country, who are currently part of a collective movement against the controversial Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA).
As per the ‘Accidental Deaths and Suicides in India 2018’ report released by the NCRB, Maharashtra topped the list of states in terms of number of suicides committed by students with reported 1,448 suicides [14.3% of total suicides committed by students] followed by Tamil Nadu (953 suicides), Madhya Pradesh (862 suicides), Karnataka (755 suicides) and West Bengal (609 suicides).
The total number of suicides has surged by 3.6% to 1,34,516 in 2018 from 1,29,887 in 2017. The numbers were 1,31,008 in 2016, 1,33,623 in 2015 and 131666 in 2014. In short, while the suicides number fell in between 2015 and 2017, it has risen again.
10,159 suicides of the total 1,34,516 suicides or 7.6% in 2018 were students. The figure increased by 2.6% from 9905 suicides in 2017. The number of students’ suicides was reported to be 9,478 in 2016, 8,934 in 2015 and 8,068 in 2014.
Educational Status of Suicide victims
As per the educational status of suicide victims, 31,757 out of 1,34,516 victims or 23.6% were educated up to matriculation or secondary level. Whereas, illiterate persons accounted for 19.5% or 26,252 victims during 2018. A total of 4,437 suicide victims were graduates and above during the year.
During the first term of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, between 2014 and 2019, student organisations had organised several protests and movements on numerous causes including fees hike, fellowships, students’ suicides, privatisation of universities, saffronisation of campuses and atrocities against marginalised communities in higher education, among other reasons. After the right-wing Bharatiya Janata Party came to power again in May 2019, the protests among student communities have not only intensified but spread across new campuses including technical universities.
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