Many Dalit students regard university as a place of ridicule and abuse. Amrit Dhillon investigates the aftermath of two suicides and asks: is it time to make campus caste discrimination a criminal offence?

Vikas Kumar Moola has been troubled by two questions ever since his best friend Muthu Krishnan, a postgraduate history student at Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), killed himself on 13 March. “What could I have done to stop it? Should I have done more to help him make friends?”

Theirs was an old and close friendship based on caste (both are Dalits, the lowest rung of the Hindu caste system), poverty, missed meals, penny pinching and dreams. “I knew he was unhappy, he was lonely, but what else did I miss?” asks Moola, a PhD sociology student at JNU.

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