Kamalanathan: Teen suicide case given utmost priority

Deputy-Education-Minister-II-P-Kamalanathan-1BUTTERWORTH: Deputy Education Minister II P Kamalanathan today said justice must be served without fear or favour following the death of teenager M Vasanthapiriya who hanged herself after being accused of stealing her teacher’s mobile phone.

Vasanthapiriya died at 3.30am today, just over a week after the incident occurred.

She was admitted to the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) of the Seberang Jaya Hospital after attempting to hang herself. She never regained consciousness.

Deputy Education Minister II P. Kamalanathan said the case would be given the utmost priority.

“The tragic loss of life is something that haunts me. For someone so young to take such a dramatic step and end her life is heartbreaking.

“I would like to offer my heartfelt condolence to Muniandy (Vasanthapiriya’s father Muniandy Ratnam) and his family over this unimaginable tragedy.

“We view this case with utmost priority and want justice done without fear or favour,” he said when contacted today.

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 Vasanthapiriya’s relative at the Prai police station, three teachers had questioned the 13-year-old student of SMK Methodist in Nibong Tebal and accused her of stealing the iPhone 6 belonging to one of them.

After Vasanthapiriya denied stealing the handphone, one of the teachers 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 her 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 teacher left her 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.

Police said today that they had wrapped up investigations into the case and had referred the case to the deputy public prosecutor’s office.

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