A 30-year-old IIT Delhi student was killed while another sustained injuries after they were hit by a car while crossing the road outside the campus late on Tuesday in Southwest Delhi, officials said.
The two were returning after having dinner at SDA Market, across the road from the campus.
Police said that they have arrested a 31-year-old man, identified as Avihant Sherawat, from Mahipalpur in connection with the incident.
DCP (Southwest) Manoj C said that around 11.15 pm on Tuesday, an accident took place near gate number 1 of IIT Delhi wherein Ashraf Nawaz Khan (30) and Ankur Shukla (29) were hit by a car. The subway near the campus closes at 10 pm and the incident took place when they were crossing the main road.
The DCP added, “Both are doing PhD at the institute. Ashraf succumbed to his injuries at Safdarjung hospital, while Ankur is undergoing treatment at Max Hospital in Saket. He has a fracture in his leg.”
Police said the car was coming from the direction of Nehru Place.
Ashraf, hailing from Bihar’s Siwan district, had three sisters, two of whom are in college and one is married. Family members said his father, Shahnawaz Khan, suffered a brain haemorrhage a few months ago, following which he could not work. His mother is a housewife.
Ashraf’s cousin Zafir Khan said, “He was the sole breadwinner. He paid for his sisters’ studies and father’s medicines through his stipend of around Rs 40,000.”
Zafir said Ashraf was supposed to leave for a conference on composite materials, the subject in which he is pursuing his PhD, in Saudi Arabia on February 9, following which he had to attend two other conferences in Dubai and Belgium next month. “He told me that he was excited to be among such experts in the field. He was the sharpest among his batchmates and even in our family,” he said.
He said that Ashraf was known as someone who would always roam around with books, and the college library was his second home. “He wanted to apply for civil services but IIT wanted him to join as a professor at its Kanpur or Delhi campus,” he added.
Ashraf’s college friends said he was a senior research fellow and had an interview in the morning for the position of postdoctoral researcher at another university. To celebrate an interview that had gone well, Ashraf and Ankur went out for dinner. As the subway from the SDA market to IIT was shut after 10 pm, the duo crossed the road, and when they were approaching the campus after jumping a four-foot-high steel grill, a Hyundai Verna hit the men. The windshield of the car was shattered and the bumper also broke in the collision.
“The car was found abandoned in an accidental state some distance away, but the driver was identified,” the DCP said. A case under IPC sections 279 (rash driving) and 304A (causing death by negligence) has been lodged.
In a statement, IIT-Delhi said: “The institute community mourns the loss of its student and extends its heartfelt condolences to his family. We are also praying for the quick recovery of Ankur Shukla. The institute is providing all necessary support to the families of both students.”
Deepak Gautam, an IIT Delhi graduate who completed his post-graduation in 2015, said that Ashraf had joined college when he was about to graduate and would find him in the library. “Even after getting a job, I would go to college just to meet Ashraf… He was very passionate about his field. Despite having different courses, we would hang out in the hostel and the canteen. He was an inspiration to me. We rushed to the AIIMS trauma centre after we came to know,” said Gautam, who works with a tech firm.
Nikita Ahuja, who graduated from IIT in 2014, said that Ashraf had a research patent to his name and always lent a hand to his juniors in academics. “He has written several research papers and all his friends and family members had their hopes pinned on him. We would meet at the campus library. He used to take us to dinner to celebrate his achievements. Not only is this a major loss for the college, but it is also a fatal blow to the experts in his field,” she said.
Ashraf’s postmortem was carried out on Wednesday morning and his body was taken back by his family members to his village in Siwan.