BUTTERWORTH: The sister and cousin of M Vasanthapiriya hunched over a white casket with family members and friends comforting each other as they tried to make sense of the teenager’s tragic death.
The smell of incense permeated the living room of their home in Kampung Tong Hai in Nibong Tebal, near here.
Vasanthapiriya’s father, Muniandy Ratnam, with pain deeply etched on his face, tried to put on a brave front as he greeted those who arrived at his home to pay their respects.
The 13-year-old died at 3.30am today at the Intensive Care Unit of the Seberang Jaya Hospital, without regaining consciousness.
“We were hoping for the best. That she would wake up. But God loves her more,” said Muniandy, 54.
“I would like to thank my friends and relatives who prayed for my daughter. There were those who offered prayers during Thaipusam.
“My friends of other faiths also prayed for Vasanthapiriya,” he said.
Asked if the family would take legal action against the teacher who had accused his daughter of stealing her mobile phone, Muniandy said at the moment their focus was just to perform prayers and hold her funeral tomorrow at 1pm.
Family members had claimed Vasanthapiriya’s body at the Seberang Jaya Hospital mortuary about 12.35pm, after a post-mortem was carried out.
The cause of death was listed as hanging.
Meanwhile, Malaysian Tamilar Kular president David Marshel said the family’s lawyer would contact Seberang Perai Selatan district police chief Supt Shafee Abdul Samad to seek a meeting with him.
He said the lawyer would also meet up with the state education department.
State Education Department deputy director Mohd Jamil Mohamed had previously said that the teacher involved had been transferred and would carry out desk duties at the South Seberang Perai district education office (PPD) while an internal probe was being conducted.
Based on a police report lodged by a relative at the Prai police station, Vasanthapiriya, a student of SMK Methodist in Nibong Tebal, was called in for questioning by three teachers at 2pm last Wednesday.
One of them, a woman in her 40s, accused her of stealing her iPhone 6.
After the teen denied stealing the handphone, another teacher allegedly hit her on the back in full view of other students.
She was then allegedly confined to a room in the teachers’ office quarters for nearly five hours, without any food or toilet break.
At 6.45pm, the husband of the teacher who lost her handphone arrived at the school. The couple threatened to take Vasanthapiriya to the police if she did not admit to the alleged theft, the report said.
They then drove Vasanthapiriya to her house nearby to meet her parents. The teen ran up to her room, while her parents and the accuser left the house “to sort things out,” the report said.
It was then that Vasanthapiriya attempted to take her life. Upon returning home at 8.20pm, her father broke into her room after repeated calls went unanswered.
She was found unconscious but alive, hanging from her ‘dupatta’ (shawl) tied to an air-conditioning pipe, with her legs in contact with the floor. Her shocked parents also discovered a suicide note written on a torn page of her school exercise book, in which she denied having stolen the phone.