In A Week, Two NEET Aspirants Went Missing; Nine Students Die By Suicide So Far

While the first one is still untraceable, the second aspirant who went missing on May 12, has been found in Kushinagar, Uttar Pradesh near the Nepal border.

 Pradeep Gaur/Mint via Getty Images
Images from Kota, which is a major coaching hub of the country for competitive examination preparations. Photo: Pradeep Gaur/Mint via Getty Images

In Kota, one of the biggest coaching hubs in India, two 19-year-old aspirants of the National Eligibility-cum-Entrance (NEET) went missing in one week. While the first one is still untraceable, the second aspirant who went missing on May 12, has been found in Kushinagar, Uttar Pradesh near the Nepal border.

On the night of May 12, a 19-year-old student hailing from Tarapur town in the Munger district of Bihar, left the hostel and went missing. Both, the 19-year-old and his younger brother were preparing for the competitive exams in Kota. 

The police had recovered a note in his PG room mentioning that he wasn't satisfied with his performance in the NEET UG exams, held on May 5. The note found by the landlord reads, "My exam didn’t go well. Find me around Kota Barrage.” Following this, a missing persons case was registered at the local police station. 

The police took action and roped in divers to search the Kota barrage for the body but nothing was found. "The CCTV footage showed that the boy went towards the railway station, instead of Kota Barrage. The police informed the GRP and RPF about this case and shared the student’s details and today the Kushinagar police detained the boy safely. Our police team will bring him back to Kota and we have informed his family,” Circle Inspector Arvind Bhardhwaj told Outlook. 

The boy's father shares that it was a shock for the entire family to know about his disappearance. "The news of our son's disappearance came as a shock to the entire family. We used to talk to him on a regular basis and mounted no pressure on him", said father, who is a junior commissioned officer with the Indian Army and posted in West Bengal.

"I spoke to my son after the police found him. But he didn't share anything over the phone and was crying throughout", added the father who is on his way to meet the son. 

Earlier on May 6, another 19-year-old preparing for NEET had gone missing after leaving a note that said he did not want to study further. The boy was a resident of Rajasthan’s Gangapur district and had been staying in Kota to prepare for NEET.

Nine Suicides Reported

Earlier this month two students, who were NEET aspirants died by suicide. A suicide note was recovered by the police in a 21-year-old student's room stating “I am sorry Papa. Me iss saal bhi nahi kar paya (I couldn’t do it this year, either)” was recovered from the room, police said. The boy was identified as Bharat Rajput, a resident of Rajasthan’s Dholpur district and was living as a paying guest (PG) in the Jawahar Nagar area of Kota.
As per the figures provided by the Kota police, the total number of coaching students who have died by suicide in 2024 is nine. In 2023, Kota witnessed the highest number of suicides, touching the tally of 29. In 2022, there were 15 suicides reported. However during the Covid-19 pandemic, when the coaching institutes were shut and students were remotely studying from their respective homes, the number of suicides had drastically come down to four in 2020 and zero in 2021.

More than 300 hostels violating rules: Govt report 

In 2023, amid a rise in students dying by suicides, the district administration of Kota in August, had ordered all hostels and PG accommodations to take precautionary measures by installing spring-loaded fans in rooms. The Rajasthan government then also announced a mandatory screening test, alphabetical sorting of students, and the admission of students as preventive measures to ensure safety. 

However, a recent study reveals that around 300 hostels and paying guest (PG) accommodations in the Kota district of Rajasthan have yet to install a spring device on ceiling fans. The report formed by a nine-member panel to monitor the status of district and state government guidelines at hostels and PG accommodations is based on the survey conducted on 4500 hostels and PG accommodations. 

Rajasthan Administrative Service (RAS) officer Sunita Daga, the nodal officer of the panel, said, "The inspection went for about three months and it was found that around 300 accommodations are yet to install spring-loaded ceiling fans as mandated by the district administration. Similarly, more than 300 hostels are violating the guidelines by not training their staff as per the government guidelines".

Moreover, around 1,000 hostels in Kota were found operating without any fire no-objection certificate, as per the findings.

Kota Collector Ravindra Goswami told Outlook, "The administration is doing every bit to ensure that the students are undergoing counselling as directed by the government guidelines. We are keeping a check on coaching centres, to ensure that students are not stressed ahead of the entrance tests".