BUKIT MERTAJAM: A 20-year-old woman is believed to have hanged herself on Tuesday after a TikTok video of her and a colleague became the subject of ridicule on a Facebook page.
Thivyaanayagi Rajendran, 20, said in an alleged suicide note she was taking her life because she had been attacked for “dating” a Bangladeshi colleague who worked with her as a cashier at a 7-Eleven store at Auto City in Juru here.
According to her family, this dating assumption came from a video which showed her with a foreign worker, who was trying to act out a scene from a Hindi song. The video was filmed while both of them appeared to be sitting behind the cashier counter.
The video posted by her colleague was later reposted by a Facebook user named “Joker Oruvan” with a caption reading, in romanised Tamil: “How did this girl fall in love with a Bangla … everyone would surely bless you.”
Thivyaanayagi’s uncle, K Sathyaseelan, said the post, which had gone on to attack her, attracted more than 300 comments, mostly jeering Thivyaanayagi for dating a foreigner.
The post has since been taken down.
Sathyaseelan said his niece was disturbed by the comments and she lodged a police report on May 19. He said police told them the matter would be referred to the cyber crime unit.
“But the page was still there that day and the comments were pouring in. We told the police to put a stop to it. We then sent a message to the admin of the page, asking them to take down the video.
“The admin told us to record a ‘sorry’ video if she wanted the video brought down. We don’t know sorry for what. They were rude when we told them to pull down the post,” Sathyaseelan told FMT.
He said that after the exchange, Thivyaanayagi went to her room at about 8pm. When she did not answer her phone calls, her brother Taran broke into her room to find her hanged with a dupatta (piece of cloth worn over the shoulder) around her neck at 9.30pm. She was pronounced dead upon arrival at the hospital.
Doctors conducting a post-mortem at the Seberang Jaya Hospital told her lorry driver brother, aged 25, that she died of asphyxia and a broken neck. Thivyaanayagi was cremated yesterday.
Sathyaseelan said Thivyaanayagi had left a suicide note in which she apologised for being part of the video which had brought “shame” to her family.
“The reason I am taking this decision is because Joker Oruvan put my video on Facebook and spoiled my name and family name,” part of the note written in English read.
Sathyaseelan said his niece was engaged to her boyfriend of three years and they were planning to marry in December. He said she would have turned 21 in July.
“We want justice. She was only 20. Those who put up the post to make fun of her should be jailed. It is because of their attacks that she took her own life,” he said.
Seberang Perai city councillor P David Marshel, who first attended to the matter, said the issue was part of the bigger cyberbullying culture which had been often overlooked.
He said the government must act swiftly as there could be other cases of bullying that had gone undetected.
Central Seberang Perai Tengah district police chief Shafee Abd Samad said the case has been classified as sudden death.
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