A second year law student of National Law University, Orrisa, Surabhi Panchpal, belonging to the Scheduled Tribe community was found dead in the Girls' Hostel of the College Campus. It has been a suspected case of death by suicide. The girl belonged to Uttarakhand.
Surbhi Panchpal’s body was reportedly found hanging from the ceiling fan on April 4 during the night. She was then immediately rushed to the S.C.B. Medical College and Hospital, Cuttack where she was declared dead upon arrival.
The police authorities have reportedly initiated an investigation into the matter and have sent the body for a post-mortem examination. Classes were suspended for the 5th of April.
The entire student community has been taken aback by the unfortunate demise of the young girl in one of India's premier law schools. Expressing dismay at the hostile environment of the University, a student anonymously remarked,
"The university administration is complicit in her death. A campus wide mental health crisis is the result of unreasonable punitive actions, corruption in the administration and a lack of care about the welfare of marginalised students in the campus. Surabhi was absent for a few days from her classes. In fact, many of the students have been depressed by the actions of the administration. This institution including the lecturers and the administration lacks care and empathy. Students are handled in an authoritarian fashion. The Vice chancellor must resign taking moral responsibility for this tragedy".
Another student, who did not shy away in letting out details, stated, "Over the last few weeks, the students have been subjected to mental and physical agony. Our vice-chancellor, Ved Kumari's reign has been characterized by abuse, arbitrary decision making, and demonising the students. We were heartbroken, and grieving last night. I cannot process this. Our university has gone from feeling like home to feeling like a torture chamber. Even in a law University like ours, there is no justice."
This is yet another incident whereby students of NLUO have expressed their displeasure with the college administration. Earlier in July 2019, the students were on indefinite strike against various infrastructural concerns and unreasonable policies of the administration.
No official statements could be deduced from the Office of the Vice Chancellor and the University administration.