The reason: “Attendance shortfall and low scores.” Some 27 years later, 26-year-old Tadvi, a Bhil Muslim pursuing a post-graduate degree in gynaecology at the city’s Topiwala National Medical College and BYL Nair Hospital, was found hanging in her hostel room in Mumbai, on May 22. In her case, the fingers point towards three of her seniors, who have now been arrested. Like Chuni Kotal, Dr Payal Tadvi, too, was breaking barriers, having come from a small town in Jalgaon and become a gynaecologist — something that no woman from her community had ever done before. Transcripts from her WhatsApp chat with a friend, as reported by Mirror, reveal how vulnerable she was in the last few months of her life. So much so that her parents feared she might kill herself. An investigation is currently on, to connect the dots between the alleged discrimination and the suicide. Tadvi’s death has brought large numbers of students in Mumbai on to the streets, calling for justice. Between the deaths of the two women, there have been scores of cases of Dalits, Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes students, succumbing to alleged exclusionary practices at educational institutes, which have got buried. The caste spectre has, for long, tainted India’s campuses, turning classrooms into graveyards for the oppressed; looming over even premier institutes such as the Indi­an Institutes of Technology; the Indian Institute of Science; the All India Institute of Medical Sciences; as well as a plethora of universities and colleges across the country. A majority of these students are first-generation schoolgoers, coming from homes which, till recently, did not have toilets or even electricity. They have a shaky command over English, and lack a sophistication that singles them out easily in a crowd. Tadvi’s suicide has brought Rohith Vemula’s death, in 2016, back in focus. Rohith’s younger brother Raja, now pursuing a law degree in Guntur, says nothing has changed on the ground as far as rooting out the systemic nature of casteism and discrimination in the classroom go, despite the outrage and national media coverage that followed in the wake of his brother’s death. “The everyday discrimination continues,” says Raja Vemula, over the phone. “The law is there, the commission is there, but the implementation is missing. We are forced to live on the outskirts of Guntur, where we have some community support, but we still can’t escape harassment. Inside the classroom, they [a section of his classmates] avoid talking to us. They keep their distance.”