Accused of Stealing Teacher’s Handphone, Girl Who Attempted Suicide Dies

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The 14-year-old schoolgirl, who tried to hang herself after being accused of stealing a teacher’s handphone, has died, and her family is calling for justice.

Malaysian Tamilar Kural president David Marshel Pakianathan, who has been following the case since it happened, confirmed that Vasanthapiriya Muniandy died in Seberang Jaya Hospital at about 3.30am today.

He said the girl’s blood pressure had dropped at around 7.30pm last night, but stabilised after that.

“Her blood pressure dropped again at around 3.30am before she passed away,” he said.

A post-mortem was carried out this morning before family members were allowed to claim her body. The funeral is likely to be held tomorrow.

Sayuti Zainudin

Vasanthapiriya, a Form Two student of SMK Methodist Nibong Tebal, tried to hang herself with a shawl at her house a few hours after a teacher accused her of stealing her iPhone 6 on Jan 24.

The teacher, said to be in her 40s, allegedly kept the girl in her office. In the presence of other teachers, she reportedly threatened to take the student to the police if she did not own up to the theft.

After the teen denied stealing the handphone, another teacher allegedly hit her on the back in full view of other students.

The teacher who lost her phone also allegedly locked the girl in a room for nearly five hours without a break, before she and her husband took the teenager home to confront her parents.

It was while the teacher was talking to the parents that Vasanthapiriya hung herself in her room.

She left a note to her parents denying that she stole the phone.

The youngest of four siblings, she also said she did not want to cause her family any more trouble.Her father, who is in his 50s, found her unconscious with a shawl around her neck tied to some piping and rushed her to the hospital.

Comatose with brain damage, she had been clinging on to life at the intensive care unit of the Seberang Jaya Hospital. She died without regaining consciousness since the incident.

According to the father, a former cook, his daughter denied that she stole the phone when he asked her.

“They said that the theft was captured on CCTV but they could not confirm whether the girl in the footage was my daughter,” he added.

Vasanthapiriya’s family said today that the police must investigate the teachers for interrogating her after they accused her of stealing.

Insisting that the case must be investigated thoroughly, a group who has been supporting the family went as far as suggesting a murder investigation.

“We want the police to take action against the teachers because now my niece is dead because of what they did to her,” the girl’s uncle, R Manogaran, 40, told reporters.

He said the teachers who allegedly threatened his niece and accused her of stealing should be held responsible for his niece’s death.

“We have lodged a police report but till today, the police have not arrested anyone,” Manogaran said.

David said Vasanthapiriya’s case is not a suicide case, but can be considered murder.

Sayuti Zainudin

“She was bullied by the teachers to the point that she took her own life, this is due to what the teachers did to her,” he said.

He alleged that the teacher and her husband had taken Vasanthapiriya out of the school without the parents’ consent.

“We don’t know what happened in the car when the teacher and her husband took her home,” David said.

He added that the state Education Department has said that the teacher was transferred but her husband, who is also a teacher, remained a teacher in the school.

“(Deputy Education Minister II) P Kamalanathan has promised to take action but until now there is nothing.

“Transferring the teacher is not good enough.

“We want justice for the late Vasanthapiriya, who was accused of stealing the iPhone. Also, we do not want this to happen to other students.

“We wanted her to recover but unfortunately, she died.

“We want to clear her name of this allegation,” David said.

Meanwhile, Batu Kawan DAP secretary M Satees questioned the police’s silence on the matter, calling it unacceptable.

“I don’t consider this a suicide but murder. She was pushed into a corner and emotionally bullied, to the extent that she took her own life.

“We take this issue seriously. Police should not delay but take immediate action.

“We will carry out this campaign for justice for Vasanthapiriya until the culprit is caught,” Satees said.

He added that the case should be pursued as a criminal one, and that the criminal process must begin immediately.

He revealed a lawyer had already been engaged and had met with the family members.


Earlier report: Jan 27, Form Two Girl in Suicide Bid After Teacher Accuses Her of Stealing Handphone