Navodaya suicides: HRD Ministry sets up panel to look into circumstances

The HRD Ministry has constituted a task force to look into the circumstances leading to the reported suicide of 49 students, including Dalits, of residential Jawahar Navodaya Vidyalayas (JNVs) between 2013 and 2017, according to an official statement.

The ministry has also sent a proposal -- to engage two full-time counsellors (one male and one female) in each of the 630 functional JNVs -- to the Department of Expenditure for approval, it added.

The ministry has set up a task force under the chairmanship of Dr Jitendra Nagpal with the approval of the HRD minister on December 31, 2018 to go into the reasons of suicides reported in the JNVs, the statement said.

The task force will look into the circumstances leading to the suicidal deaths of students residing in the hostels of JNV residential schools and will also suggest ways and means to arrest the trend of suicides by students.

Earlier, the National Human Rights Commission had sent a notice to the HRD Ministry in connection with the matter.

Reportedly, "all, except seven, were suicides by hanging, and the bodies were discovered either by classmates or members of the school staff", the NHRC had said in a statement.

The JNVs are fully residential schools managed and run by the Navodaya Vidyalaya Samiti, an autonomous organisation under the Ministry of Human Resource Development.