Social Issues

Breaking: MCC Student Dies During Sports Session; Protests Erupt In College

Classes have since been cancelled.

Students of one of Chennai’s premier institutions – Madras Christian College – are currently holding protests at the campus a day after a first-year student died. Mahima Jayaraj, a student of BSc Chemistry, allegedly complained of breathing problems during the college’s mandatory sports session. The student died later on Monday evening after she suffered a cardiac arrest.

According to the college, students of the first year are required to put in 120 hours of sports activities in order to earn 2 credit points for finishing their degree. The college’s ‘Sports For All’ initiative is part of the credits.

A student from the university says that there have been a number of versions of the girl’s story floating in the campus. Some believe that the girl had been having breathing problems for a while and that she had voluntarily gone for basketball practice. While other students attest that she was on her period and required an exemption from attending the sports session, but was forced to thereby undergoing low blood pressure and anaemia.

Amidst all this, a voice note has been circulating among the students that allegedly elaborates what happened on Monday evening that culminated into Mahima dying. The voice note says:

“This girl, Mahima, is our batch mate’s sister. Mahima’s sister is Dheena’s colleague’s friend. So that friend spoke to Mahima’s sister who said, Mahima had gone to college without eating anything. Plus she also slept very late in the night. She was stressed due to some domestic issues. In the morning, Mahima has informed her lecturer that she was very tired and had a headache. However, she was asked to run. After which Mahima started palpitating and fainted. Since there was no first-aid kit nearby, Mahima remained in that state for some time. With no proper medication, the management conducts sports. The management is also partially responsible for this incident. There was only water and those around her used it to wake her up. Failing which Mahima was then taken to a hospital nearby and there she started vomiting blood. After this, we did not hear any news about here. In the evening we came to know that she was dead. We do not know why or how she died. The post-mortem has not been done.”    

According to reports, Mahima’s parents confirmed that she had no prior health conditions unlike what few students have claimed. Several students allege that the sports session is mandatory for all with strict instructions, with even students suffering from any minor ailments are not exempted. A first-year student from the evening college even shares that there might not be a first-aid room in the campus or even if there is, students are unaware of it.

Moreover, Mahima’s death poses the question on the idea of forcing students to perform physical activities for the sake of grades. Some students state that getting attendance for the same session is difficult, with students coming as late as five minutes are sent out.

Thus far, the college has not made a statement on the following matter, with classes getting cancelled on account of the protest on Tuesday. Students have been protesting now shouting: “We want principal!” owing to him not making any statement on the same.

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