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Mummy, papa I’m the worst daughter! Kota Student takes life, 2nd in a month

The unfortunate event in Kota this past Monday can be attributed to the academic stress and inadequate counseling resources prevalent in a significant number of educational institutions, after yet another student, 18-year-old, who was gearing up for JEE, committed suicide.
The event is believed to be part of a series of suicides in the coaching hub of Rajasthan’s Kota.

The Suicide Note
While speaking to TrueToLife on the afternoon of 30th January, the Community Liaison Groups (CLGs) member of Borkheeda Police Station, Amit Paliwal confirmed the occurrence, “The girl hanged herself under educational stress and pressure.”
The student, identified as Niharika Singh, left a heart-wrenching suicide note expressing apologies to her parents and describing herself as a ‘loser.’ The note, composed in English, read, “Mummy, papa, I can’t do JEE so I suicide. I am loser. I worst daughter. Sorry mummy papa. Yahi last option he.” She was slated to appear for the JEE test within the next few days.
This marks the second suicide case in Kota within a week, coinciding with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s annual interaction, ‘Pareeksha Pe Charcha,’ with students preparing for their school board exams. During this interaction, PM Modi urged students and parents not to let the pressures of competition overpower them.
Niharika, the eldest of three sisters, lived with her family in Shiv Vihar Colony in Kota and was set to take the JEE test on January 30 or 31.
According to the CLG officer, the suicide note revealed that Niharika was grappling with immense stress. He quotes, “She was a 18-year-old girl with the huge pressure of her studies and abundant guilt of unfulfilled family expectations so she felt overwhelmed by the impending exam and took this step.”

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Her Family & Exams
Hailing from Akawdakhurd village in Jhalawar district, Niharika’s father works as a security guard at a private bank in Kota, where the family has been residing for the past three years.
According to the media reports, a relative of Niharika disclosed that she was facing significant stress regarding the upcoming JEE test. Niharika had to retake her 12th class exam due to a low score, but despite this setback, she dedicated seven to eight hours a day to her studies.
The tragic incident unfolded when Niharika’s grandmother tried to enter her room around 10 am but received no response. Raising an alarm, the family discovered Niharika’s lifeless body hanging from the ventilation window above the door.

The Help Students should seek!
Kota, renowned as a coaching hub, has unfortunately witnessed several student suicides in the past. In 2022, fifteen students in Kota died by suicide, compared to 18 in 2019, 20 in 2018, seven in 2017, 17 in 2016, and 18 in 2015. There were no reported suicides in 2020 and 2021, attributed to the closure or shift to online mode of coaching institutes due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Talking with True to Life, The CLG officer Amit Paliwal shares, “Regardless of guidelines, not every educational institution have yet set the active medical and counseling help for the students.”
He continued, “This may contribute to heightened stress and mental health challenges among students and, in extreme cases, may be linked to an increased risk of suicide.”
Even in response to a rise in suicides last year, a committee advised test preparation institutes to organize stress-relief activities, share motivational videos online, and consider reducing syllabus to alleviate pressure. The annual worth of Kota’s test-prep industry is estimated at ₹10,000 crores, attracting students nationwide after completing Class 10.
On January 16, the Union education ministry issued guidelines for coaching centers, limiting enrolment above age 16 and imposing a ₹1,00,000 penalty for violations. Last year’s increase in student suicides led to directives from the Centre, urging coaching institutes and district administrations to protect students from depression and stress. The effectiveness of these measures is a topic of ongoing debate

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Increasing suicides
Additionally, just a week before Niharika’s tragic death, another student named Mohammed Zaid was found hanging in his hostel room in Kota. Zaid, hailing from Moradabad district in Uttar Pradesh, had come to Kota to prepare for the medical entrance exam NEET.
“Both coaching institutes and parents must significantly change their approach to tackle the concerning increase in student suicides.” The officer advised lastly.

Article by Sanjana Shelar from Mumbai for True to Life.

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