Tamil Nadu: Another Class 12 Student Found Dead in School, Second Case in Two Weeks

New Delhi: A class 12 student of a Tamil Nadu school near Kilacheri in the state’s Tiruvallur district was found hanging in her hostel room on Monday, July 25, in the second such case in the state this month.

The deceased was a student of the Sacred Heart school in Tiruvallur, a government-aided senior secondary school for girls.

According to a report by the Indian Express, the deceased was a resident of Tiruttani, a town some 60 km from where the school is located.

Her body was reportedly discovered hanging in her hostel room by school authorities and was taken to a hospital nearby, where she was declared dead on arrival. It is now at the Tiruvallur Government Medical College Hospital awaiting an autopsy.

The incident comes mere weeks after another Class 12 girl student was found dead in a school in Chinnasalem in the state’s Kallakurichi district on July 13. However, in that case, the deceased’s parents did not accept the school’s claims that she had died by suicide, and alleged wrongdoing on the part of the school authorities.

The parents had made these allegations on a basis of a number of claims, such as the fact that the autopsy had reportedly revealed injuries on her body which seemed to have been sustained before her death, as well as an alleged note recovered from her room in which she alleged “torture” at the hands of two of her teachers.

Five arrests were made following the police’s discovery of the note, including the school’s principal and two teachers.

With regards to the present case, the police said that no suicide note was found in the victim’s room, NDTV reported,

Also read: TN Student Death: SC Refuses Stay on Madras HC Order for Repeat Autopsy

The NDTV report also noted that the police said the case had been transferred to the Crime Branch – Criminal Investigation Department (CB-CID). Following the July 13 incident, the Madras high court, hearing a plea by the victim’s father, had order for all cases of suspected suicides in education institutes to be transferred to the CB-CID in the future.

The judge’s remarks had come while he lamented the widespread destruction wrought by demonstrators protesting the girl’s death in the days following the incident. Saying that he thought the protests and vandalism appeared “pre-planned”, Justice N. Sathish Kumar had ordered the formation of a special investigation team (SIT) to look into the protests and arrest those responsible for the violence. 

Despite the judge’s harsh words against the protestors at the time, protests have erupted in response to the present case as well.

Led by the girl’s parents, family members and others began protesting the girl’s death, blocking the Tiruttani-Pothatturpettai road. As the NDTV report notes, the parents reportedly claimed that they were not immediately provided with all the details of their daughter’s death.

In order to avoid a situation like the last case, where thousands of protesters gathered and set fire to busses, attacked police personnel and destroyed the original documents of thousands of students, police has been deployed in large numbers, both in Tiruvallur, near the school, and in the student’s home village.

The police said that officials had reached the spot to enquire further into the incident.

As for the July 13 case, following the parents’ pleas before the court alleging wrongdoing in her death, the court had ordered a second autopsy. However, the victim’s father appealed the order before the Supreme Court because his request to have a doctor of his choice present, was rejected.

Directing him to have faith in the high court’s judgment, Chief Justice of India (CJI) N.V. Ramana, hearing the plea in the top court, allowed the repeat autopsy to take place. The high court had allowed for a period of one month for the report on the second autopsy to be submitted.

Meanwhile, the girl’s last rites were performed in her home district of Cuddalore on July 23 after her body was handed over to her mother from the Kallakurichi Government Hospital.

The Madras high court, on July 22, had directed the family not to prolong the case further and to accept the girl’s body before 11 am on July 23, failing which, it said, police action would be taken against them.

If you know someone – friend or family member – at risk of suicide, please reach out to them. The Suicide Prevention India Foundation maintains a list of telephone numbers they can call to speak in confidence. Icall, a counselling service run by TISS, has maintained a crowdsourced list of therapists across the country. You could also take them to the nearest hospital.