‘Grandaunt of Ariyalur girl called Childline in 2020 alleging harassment by stepmother’

Published - January 29, 2022 09:48 pm IST - ARIYALUR

The police probe into the death of the class XII schoolgirl from Ariyalur, who ended her life recently, has established that her grandaunt had made a call to ChildLine in July 2020, alleging that the girl was being “harassed and tortured” by her stepmother.

According to police sources, Ms. Saraswathi, who worked and retired as headmistress in Panchayat Union Middle School in Vadugapalayam in Ariyalur district, the native village of the girl, made the call to 1098, in July 2020 through a mobile phone. She had apparently contacted ChildLine based on information provided by the villagers that the girl had even been branded by her stepmother.

“It has come to light that it was the girl’s grandaunt who contacted Childline alleging torture by her stepmother in Vadugapalayam. A police team has conducted enquiry with her [grandaunt] and recorded her statement,” a senior police officer told The Hindu.

Ms. Saraswathi, who lives in Coimbatore with her son, frequents Thirumanur, a town close to Vadugapalayam, where she has a home.

In a video that went viral on social media, she says she lodged the complaint based on information provided by a few girls of Vadugapalayam that the girl was tortured by her stepmother. She further states in the video that she could not speak to the girl as she was forbidden to do so.

An official in Ariyalur district said that a team of ChildLine workers visited Vadugapalayam after the complaint was referred to the district from Chennai. They met the girl and her close relatives and enquired about the complaint. Since the girl apparently denied any such ill-treatment, the complaint was subsequently closed.

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