Rajasthan Minister Shanti Dhariwal has stirred controversy by suggesting that love affairs are a major reason behind the suicides among students in Kota. His comments have particularly upset the father of a 16-year-old girl, Richa, who recently took her own life, prompting him to demand evidence for the minister’s claims.
During a press conference on Wednesday, Dhariwal stated that a letter left by Richa indicated that a love affair was the cause of her suicide. “All the suicides committed here (by coaching students) need to be investigated thoroughly to find the exact reason,” he said. He was speaking alongside Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot. Dhariwal also mentioned that “parental pressure” contributes to the growing number of student suicides in Kota, which is known as a hub for coaching institutes.
However, the local police contradicted Dhariwal’s claims. Circle Inspector of Vigyan Nagar police station, Davesh Bhardwaj, who is also the investigation officer in Richa’s case, stated, “We did not recover any suicide note from Richa’s hostel room.” DSP Dharmveer Singh also denied finding any evidence to suggest a love affair was the reason behind Richa’s death.
Richa’s father, Ravindra Sinha, who arrived in Kota from Ranchi to collect his daughter’s body, strongly objected to Dhariwal’s statements. “My daughter did not have any affair. If he (Dhariwal) has any such evidence, he should share it with me,” Sinha said to the media. He also mentioned that his daughter had told him about harassment from boys while going to her coaching classes. Sinha expressed dissatisfaction with the counseling services available to students in Kota.
Official records reveal that Richa is the 23rd student to commit suicide in Kota this year, a new high for the city that is famous for its coaching centers. Last year, 15 students took their lives.
The comments by Minister Dhariwal have ignited a heated debate about the serious issue of student suicides in Kota and elsewhere. While authorities continue to investigate the causes, the grieving families are demanding a more sensitive approach to the topic and evidence-based remarks from public officials.
This incident serves as a wake-up call for a thorough investigation into the real reasons behind student suicides in Kota, as well as the need for a more compassionate and factual approach by public figures when discussing such sensitive matters.