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‘She Said She Loved Her Teacher’

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NIBONG TEBAL – R. Muniandy could only scream in anguish when he saw his 14-year-old daughter unconscious, with a shawl around her neck, tied to some piping.

“I think the whole kampung heard me screaming,” said the former cook, recounting the horrible moment when he found M. Vasantha Piriya hanging in her room.

“I quickly performed first aid and got my brother to send her to the hospital,” the distraught 54-year-old father said, adding that the girl was first sent to Sungai Bakap Hospital and later transferred to Seberang Jaya Hospital’s intensive care unit.

Vasantha Piriya died at the hospital at 3.35am yesterday without regaining consciousness.

The student had apparently attempted suicide following accusations that she stole her teacher’s handphone last week.

“She locked herself in her room and pushed a sofa to block the door. When we forced ourselves into the room, she had hanged herself,” said the grief-stricken father.

Before the incident, the girl told her father she had not taken her teacher’s phone.

“I told her not to worry and that I would sort it out. She told her grandmother the same thing,” he said.

He said Vasantha Piriya was “extremely sad” after she was brought home by her teacher and her husband.

Muniandy said his daughter left a note telling her parents and grandmother that she loved them.

“She also said that she loved the teacher and did not steal her handphone. She also said it was her own decision (to attempt suicide),” he said at his daughter’s wake at his home in Kampung Tong Hai yesterday.

The family’s focus was on the funeral rites now, Muniandy said.

The funeral has been set for 1pm today.

The teacher had alleged that Vasantha Piriya stole her iPhone 6 at the school on Jan 24.

The teacher had also reportedly reprimanded the girl and later sent her home.

A teacher who had taught Vasantha Piriya described her as a timid and quiet student.

“She was shy and never got into any trouble. I believe the school database system will show she has no disciplinary record,” he said.

Vasantha Piriya’s aunt A. Lalitha, 43, felt that her niece was humiliated by the theft accusation.

“The teacher might get her phone back but will my sister get her daughter back?” she asked.

South Seberang Prai police chief Supt Shafee Abdul Samad confirmed that police had completed the investigation under Section 309 of the Penal Code for attempted suicide.

“The investigation papers have been submitted to the deputy public prosecutor’s office and it is up to them to decide on further action,” he said.

In a related development, Malaysian Tamilar Kural president David Marshel said the group has engaged lawyer Paramjit Singh to advise the family.

“The lawyer will meet with Supt Shafee and the state Education Department officer,” he said.

Penang Education Department deputy director Mohd Jamil Mohamed said investigations on the case had been completed, adding: “We are in the process of preparing the final report which will be submitted to the Education Ministry for follow-up action.”

On whether the teacher involved had adhered to the standard operating procedure pertaining to such matters, he said: “This information is in the report and it is confidential.” – The Star Online


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