Massive protests rocked Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur, this week after a 26-year-old PhD student, Alok Kumar Pandey, died of cardiac arrest on Aug. 8th. The research scholar had reportedly gone to the health centre inside the campus complaining of a shoulder pain, but his health deteriorated after the doctor at the premise administered an injection.
Pandey was referred to Lakshmipat Singhania Institute of Cardiology, Kanpur, by the health centre 30-40 minutes after his health deteriorated. An ECG was conducted and there were no doctor who accompanied him in the ambulance to the hospital.
Following two-day long protests, the doctor on duty was suspended until the enquiry of the fact finding committee, which was constituted to determine the sequence of the events before his death and the cause of his death. The team is also supposed to find out if the doctor at the health centre was at fault.
The institute has agreed to pay Rs. 8 lakh as ex-gratia amount to Pandey's family. The institute also said an FIR will be registered over and above the case registered by Pandey's brother if the fact finding committee found that the doctor on duty is found negligent in his duty, according to a statement from IIT, Kanpur Director's office. The institute will be forwarding the petition by Pandey's brother to the Ministry of Human Resource Department for compensation of Rs. 50 lakh. However, these demands by the student's Gymkhana were accepted after almost 500 students blocked roads and sought answers.
Students had allegedly also cut power in the campus, except the women's hostel and health centre, on Aug. 9 to grab attention of the administration. After a peaceful gherao of directors and deans of various departments did not materialise, students continued protesting till wee hours of Aug. 10th. They also reportedly missed classes en masse in protest, a Master's student at the institute told International Business Times, India.
This is not the first incident where a student passed away after being treated at the institute's health centre. In October 2015, Aftab Alam, Computer Engineer at Institute's Computer Centre, had an untimely death the cause of which was apparently a heart stroke. Alam's family had accused the health centre of negligence.
Pandey's brother, Adarsh, has lodged an FIR, following which four employees of the IIT were booked. Alok's guide Professor Kamal Kekar, Dr Shailendra Kishore, the administrator of the health centre and the warden in-charge have been booked under Section 304 (culpable homicide not amounting to murder) of IPC.