Two more Tamil Nadu students die by suicide, five in fortnight
Five cases of death by suicide involving students have been reported in Tamil Nadu in the past two weeks, including two in the past 24 hours, police said
Five cases of death by suicide involving students have been reported in Tamil Nadu in the past two weeks, including two in the past 24 hours, police said on Wednesday.
Police said all the children who died by suicide came from either poor or lower middle-class families. At least three of them were under academic pressure, initial investigations have shown.
A class 12 boy was found dead in his home at Karaikudi in Sivagangai district on Tuesday night by his parents. “There is a suicide note which clearly says that he did not like the Biology-Maths group. His parents are blaming themselves because they wanted him to take the group,” T Senthil Kumar superintendent of police (SP), Sivagangai district told HT. The boy studied in a private school and his parents belonged to a middle class family and were in the business of selling jute bags. A post mortem was completed on Wednesday and the parents took his body home.
Also on Tuesday, a class 11 girl was found dead in her home in Virudhunagar district’s Sivakasi. “Her parents told us that she suffered severe menstrual pain which may have led her to take the extreme step… But that’s the parents’ version,” Virudhunagar SP M Manohar told HT. The death was reported when the girl was at home with her grandmother.
Her parents, who work in a fireworks factory in Sivakasi, found her dead when they returned home. Manohar added that a case of unnatural death has been registered and the body was sent for autopsy to ascertain the cause of death. An investigation into the circumstances of her death is underway, he said.
And in a third case on Tuesday, about 400km from Sivakasi district, a class 12 girl died by suicide at her home in Cuddalore . Police said initial investigations indicated that the girl was under pressure due to the monthly tests underway at school and had fought with her mother over studies.
On Monday, a class 12 girl was found dead inside her hostel attached to a government-aided school in Thiruvallur district. No reason has been ascertained in her case as yet. Police said they were investigating the reason for the child’s death.
The spate of student suicides began when a class 12 girl was found dead in her hostel premises on July 13 in Kallakurichi district. Her parents suspected foul play in her death while police and the school said that she jumped to her death from her hostel room. The child’s family and others protested , refused to take her body, and demanded action against the private school which eventually culminated in violence and arson on July 17 in which around 50 police officials were injured. Before handing over the case to the CB-CID, the local police arrested the school’s principal, correspondent, secretary and two teachers suspected to be involved in the girl’s death and hundreds for the violence.
While hearing the Kallakurichi girl’s death case, the Madras high court ordered on July 18 that every suicide of a student inside an educational institution must be handed over to the CB-CID. So the cases of the Thiruvallur and Kallakurichi students’ death are being probed by the agency.
CB-CID officials did not respond for a comment.
“They are doing a fast-paced investigation. This case is being taken very seriously,” he said.
Experts say that the sensationalising of the Kallakurichi’s student’s suicide is leading to a dangerous trend of copycat suicides in Tamil Nadu. “It’s what we otherwise call Werther phenomenon,” said Dr Lakshmi Vijayakumar, consultant psychiatrist and founder of the country’s premier suicide prevention organisation SNEHA.
“We know that copycat suicides go up by 15% after a sensational reporting of suicide. Copycat suicides happen when a person identifies with a person who has died. So, if you look at all the five suicides, they are mostly girls using the same method.”
According to National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB), Tamil Nadu recorded fourth highest student suicides among all states in the country in 2020. As per NCRB report, 930 suicides were reported from Tamil Nadu that year as compared to 1648 in Maharashtra, 1149 in Odisha and 1158 in Madhya Pradesh. At the national level, at 12526, the number of student suicides increased by 21.19% over the previous year.
Reacting to a string of deaths, chief minister MK Stalin on Tuesday described the recent incidents of student suicides as painful and asked educational institutes to treat education as a service and not as a business. “Students should be taught to deal with any situation,” he said.
On Wednesday, Stalin flagged off a mental health awareness drive for school students.
“If mental and physical wellbeing is right, everything will be good,” said Stalin.