Tamil Nadu: Class 12 Student Found Dead in Home in Cuddalore, Third Incident in Two Weeks

New Delhi: A girl student in Tamil Nadu’s Cuddalore district was found to have allegedly died by suicide on Tuesday, July 26, in what was the third such case in the span of two weeks.

One day prior, on Monday, a Class 12 girl student was found dead in her room in a school in the Tiruvallur district in another case of suspected suicide

Before that, on July 13, another Class 12 girl student was found dead inside the hostel premises of a school in the Kallakurichi district. However, while the school authorities initially claimed that she had died by suicide, her parents disputed that fact, leading to protests and an ongoing court case.

In the present case, the police reportedly found a suicide note at the girl’s home in which she wrote that she decided to take her own life after doing poorly in a monthly Tamil examination in her school, according to a report by the Times of India.

Also read: ‘Academic Distress’ and Student Suicides in India: A Crisis That Needs to be Acknowledged

The note also reportedly noted that the girl was under immense stress because her parents wanted her to crack the Indian Administrative Service (IAS) entrance test.

The police also claimed that the girl had been upset after her mother had scolded her, NDTV reported.

The Times of India report noted that the girl’s parents found her body when they returned home and reportedly attempted to perform her last rites without informing the police. However, a police team did arrive at the home, registered a case of suspicious death and sent her body for a post-mortem report.

The NDTV report also states that chief minister M.K. Stalin appealed to students to ‘shun suicidal thoughts’ in light of the three recent tragedies which have emerged in the state within the past two weeks.

Prior incidents

Only one day before the present incident, a girl student was found hanging in her hostel room at the Sacred Heart school near Kilacheri in Tamil Nadu’s Tiruvallur district. No suicide note had been recovered from the premises, according to the police, nor from her home in Tiruttani.

Alleging that the school had failed to properly notify the victim’s parents of her death, the parents as well as family members and others took to the streets in protest and blocked the Tiruttani-Pothatturpettai road.

There was also heavy deployment of police both outside the school in Tiruvallur as well as in the victim’s home village, in order to avoid a mass protest situation as was seen in the July 13 case. The victim’s body was sent for autopsy on Tuesday.

On July 13, a Class 12 girl student was found dead in the hostel premises of a school she attended in Chinnasalem in the Kallakurichi district. 

The school authorities had claimed that she had died by suicide, but certain facts of the case – a suicide note reportedly discovered by the police which alleged “torture” at the hands of two teachers; alleged injury scars revealed in the initial autopsy which were thought to have occurred before her death; and even her mother’s claims that there were bloodstains a considerable distance from where her body was thought to be discovered – led the family to allege wrongdoing on the part of the school authorities.

After sustained protests from July 14 onwards, violence erupted in Kallakurichi on July 17 when thousands of protesters, allegedly coordinated through YouTube videos and WhatsApp groups, began burning buses, pelting stones (and injuring) police personnel and even destroying the original documents of thousands of students of the school.

On the father’s plea alleging the same, the Madras high court passed an order for a repeat autopsy to be conducted in the case and for the report to be filed within a month. 

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

In the order, Justice N. Sathish Kumar also directed that all such cases of deaths of students inside educational institutions be transferred to the Crime Branch – Criminal Investigation Department (CB-CID) of the state police from that point on.

Further, the judge came down heavily on the protestors, ordering the formation of a special investigative team (SIT) of the police to identify and apprehend the violent protesters.

The police, meanwhile, arrested five individuals in the case, including the school principal and two teachers, in light of the allegations of torture in the reported note.

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.

Featured image: Representative image. Photo: Jason Blackeye/Unsplash

This article was first published on The Wire.