AKU student commits suicide in same room as 2010 case

Victim was a second-year nursing student and was found dead on Wednesday night

Our Correspondent April 21, 2016
This is the fifth suicide at the medical university since 1991. In 2010, a student from Chitral killed himself in the same dorm room. PHOTO: EXPRESS

KARACHI: Room 227, on the first floor of the male hostel at Aga Khan University Hospital (AKUH), has seen two deaths in the last six years — one in 2010 and the other on Wednesday night.

A second-year BSc nursing student from Aga Khan School of Nursing, W*, was found dead on Thursday morning in Room 227. This was the same room in which a 21-year-old medical student from Chitral was found dead in April 2010, said a guard on campus.

AKU student commits suicide

The nursing student, who allegedly hanged himself from the ceiling fan on Wednesday night, hailed from Gilgit and had been studying at AKUH since 2014. He was enrolled in the 2014 batch and would have been graduating in 2018.

"He was intelligent, passionate and an active student," said a university official, requesting anonymity. W was studying on a 100 per cent scholarship, with a guaranteed job after he completed his studies, said the official. No one ever saw him show signs of depression, the official told The Express Tribune.

The university official said W was also an active participant in extracurricular activities, including annual dinners, class outings and parties at the college and it is too soon to say anything about his death.

One of the relatives of the deceased also confirmed that W loved sports and would go to the gym every day. According to one of his peers, he was an extrovert who loved to roam around.

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"We haven't decided yet whether the body will be handed over to the family or be sent for an autopsy," said a professor on the condition of anonymity. The professor said the family has been informed of the tragic incident. All classes and examinations at the campus were cancelled on Thursday but students were not informed about the incident until later in the evening.

"I do not know what is happening, nobody knows what actually happened," said a student sitting in the garden outside the hostel in the afternoon. Later, the dean of the nursing school met the students and shared details about the incident. However, the details of the meeting were not shared with the media.

A guard at the campus told The Express Tribune that the room in which the two suicide incidents took place is cursed. He claimed the room is haunted by ghosts that make students commit suicide. "W was an intelligent boy and always said hello when he came back to the hostel in the evenings. He was not someone who would have taken such a step," the guard added.

The university conducts regular counseling sessions with students and also has a separate department for it, pointed out a university official. This is the fifth suicide since 1991 at the institution.

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"Apparently the student committed suicide but the police are investigating the case from different angles. The statements of his fellow students, the administration and family will also be recorded," said Gulshan SP Dr Fahad. He said no suicide note has been found in the room as yet.

Faculty members at the university refused to comment on the matter, while the spokesperson has said that AKUH will release an official statement regarding the incident soon.

*Name has been withheld to protect identity

Published in The Express Tribune, April 22nd, 2016.

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