Crime Branch SIT to probe class 9 student's suicide over missing virtual classes

Crime Branch SIT to probe class 9 student's suicide over missing virtual classes
Devika, 14, , daughter of Valanchery native Balakrishnan, who committed suicide on June 1.

Malappuram: A special investigation team of Kerala Police's Crime Branch will take over the probe into the death of a class 9 student, who allegedly set herself on fire as she was unable to attend virtual classes since her family did not have a smartphone.

Malappuram Crime Branch SP K V Santhosh will lead the investigation team, State Police chief Loknath Behera informed on Saturday.

The incident occurred near Valancherry in Malappuram district on June 1, hours after the Kerala government's virtual classes for school and college students began as the educational institutions continued to be shut due to the COVID-19-induced lockdown.

The girl ended her life by setting herself ablaze about 200 meters off her house.

Devika, 14, was the eldest of four children of Balakrishnan, a Dalit labourer, who was out of work for about two months due to the lockdown straining the family's income.

The classes, broadcast through ViCTERS TV channel and made available simultaneously on the KITE ViCTERS website, mobile app and social media pages, could not be accessed by the girl since the TV in her home was dysfunctional leaving her feel dejected, her family had said.

According to them, the girl had no other difficulties.

The police had, earlier, found a notebook containing a writing about death believed to be of the girl.

A police team, led by Tirur DySP K Suresh Babu, recorded the statements of her parents at their home in Valancherry.

The girl's grandmother said Devika was "upset and depressed" as she was unable to attend the digital class.

Devika's mother had given birth few days ago and due to some medical complications, the family had to borrow money for medical expenses, the police added.

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