The spate of suicides of girl students in Tamil Nadu starting with Lavanya of Thanjavur in January this year is cause for extreme concern. In the month of July alone there are 10 suicides that were reported in the media which included Kallakurichi Srimathi, Ariyalur plus girl student, Vridhachalam plus 2 student, Tirunelveli plus 1 student, Kallakurichi Medical and an art college student, 18-year-old girl student in Salem, Thiruvallur plus 2 girl student, Kanchipuram plus one boy student (attempt to suicide) and two 2nd year veterinary girl students attempt to die by consuming mercuric sulfate.
The Dravidian model DMK government in Tamil Nadu has been ballyhooing that it is the safest state for women and leads in women empowerment but the current happenings ie the increase in the number of suicides in girl students reveal what really goes on in the name of women empowerment and freedom behind the Periyarism veil. Under the much-touted ‘new dawn rule of DMK, the state is not safe for fair sex and emerging fast as a capital of crime against women.
For statistical purposes, we start with the Thanjavur Lavanya incident to prove our case.
- Lavanya, a student of Sacred Heart Higher Secondary School at Michaelpatti in Thirukattapalli near Thanjavur unable to bear the alleged torture and pressure exerted to convert to Christianity by the school management and warden of the St Michael hostel, in order to continue her studies, she drank pesticide on 15th January and died on 19th with no responce to treatment.
- Sumathira (name changed), a plus 2 student, was studying in private matriculation at Uppathukadu near Thimmampatti village committed suicide by consuming pesticide on 18th January this year- a victim of love jihad
- On Mar.7, near Madurai a 17-year-old girl who was, allegedly enticed to elope on 14th February, drugged and gang raped, forced to drink poison died on 6th March.
- Another plus-2 girl near Salem ended her life on January 17th and a 25-year-old Engineering graduate girl from Ramanathapuram committed suicide on 9th December last year.
- The mysterious and alleged suicide of a 17-year-old girl Srimathi, who was studying at the ECR International School located in Kaniyamoor in the Kallakurichi district. Srimathi is suspected to have committed suicide by jumping down from the school’s hostel floor on July 12. This led to organized violence. With the mob pelting stones and ransacking the school building, classrooms and the principal’s cabin. They also set fire to school buses parked on the campus, besides attacking at least three police vehicles.
- The next day a class 12th girl student was found hanging in the hostel room of Sacred Heart Girl’s Higher Secondary School, a government-aided institution near Kilacherry in the Thiruvallur district.
- A Class 11 girl died by suicide inside her home in Virudhunagar district’s Sivakasi on July 26th. On the same day a Class 12 girl Sivagami died by suicide inside her home in the Cuddalore district. Police said that initial investigations indicated that the girl was under pressure due to the monthly tests underway at the school and she had a rift with her mother over her studies.
- A Class 12 student in Tamil Nadu’s Sivagangai district was found dead at his home near Karaikudi on 27th July- the fifth death by suicide of a school student in the past two weeks. It is the fifth death by suicide of a school student in the past two weeks –
- A Class XII girl attempted to end her life by jumping from the third floor of a government school near Mecheri in Salem district on 18th July.
- Chennai IIT student complaint that her friend, a girl, was sexually assaulted by a man on 24th July on the campus. A canteen worker was arrested. On the 25th, a first-year pharmacy college student attempted suicide by leaping from the first floor. The college belonged to higher education Minister K Ponmudi’s wife Vishalakhshi.
- Periyar University Registrar-in-Charge D. Gopi, 48, was July 25th arrested on the charge of sexually harassing one of his students at his chamber.
- The body of a 17-year-old girl student was found in an agricultural well at Pilrampattu in Villupuram district on July 26th.
- On the29th July, Sumathi 19 of Erode, a second-year nursing student was found dead inside her dormitory at Shenbaga Nursing college near Thiruverkaadu.
- On August 3rd Two veterinary college students tried to commit suicide by consuming mercuric sulfate. They are admitted to the hospital.
- Coimbatore RS Puram all women police arrested Mohammed Sultan (70), Manoraj(58) who raped a plus two student several times when she was 8 and 9 years old. The victim die last year in November leaving a note mentioning the names of predators. Earlier police arrested her school teacher Mithun Chakravarthi for sexually assaulting the girl.
- In 2006. Plus 2 Sukanya, student of the government-aided Fatima Girls Higher Secondary School at Omalur. She too was studying in a Catholic convent and was staying in a hostel. She is said to have committed suicide but forensic reports found sperm in her private parts.
- This is a sample incident. We have not included the details of survivors of sexual assaults by school teachers, staff, HM, college and university staff, Pastors, Muslim men, priests, elders, relatives, school auto, van drivers, or assistants. There were more than NEET-related 15 suicides besides tenth and dozens of plus 2 public examinations failed students which we did not take it in the list.
Writer Aravindan Neelakantan wrote in Swarajya “There is also a legitimate apprehension of underreporting of cases and of predatory priests involved in paedophile cases being employed overseas. So perhaps it is time the Central Government installs an inquiry commission of not only Central intelligence agencies but also Church-abuse victims’ counsellors and investigators in other countries to investigate the cases of such mysterious deaths of students in Catholic educational premises. We do not want the Pope doing to our children what Francis is doing to the dead, indigenous children of Canada who were the victims of Church abuse”.
While hearing the petition by the father of the Kallakurichi victim, Justice N Satish Kumar of Madras High Court, has directed the TN government to come up with a policy to appoint psychologists in every district to create a healthy atmosphere for school students to study. He also said, “ the state should also come up with a definite stand as to the timings of study hours of the children, since it is stated that I the private schools children are being made to study from 6 am till late evening even without any chance for interacting with others”. An expert panel should be formed to end this trend among girl students and find out the reasons behind them.
The DMK, which had played petty politics over suicides in support of their anti- NEET campaign in the past has a lot to answer now.