Tamil Nadu

Protest over Class XII girl student’s death near Chinna Salem turns violent

Protest over Class XII girl student’s death near Chinna Salem turns violent
| Video Credit: Special Arrangement

Massive violence broke out on the premises of a private school in Kallakurichi district in north Tamil Nadu on Sunday morning, four days after the body of a Class XII girl was found in the hostel block on the campus. Protesters vandalised the institution and set ablaze over 15 vehicles and other properties. The police had to open fire in the air twice to break up the protesters, and 70 persons were arrested in connection with the violence.

In the evening, Director General of Police C. Sylendra Babu ordered the transfer of the probe in the case to the Crime Branch-Criminal Investigation Department (CB-CID). He said school chairman Ravikumar, secretary Shanthi Ravikumar and the principal were arrested for their failure to ensure adequate safety measures in the hostel.

Earlier, Chief Minister M.K. Stalin appealed for calm and said those responsible for the girl’s death would be punished. Political party leaders, including Leader of the Opposition Edappadi K. Palaniswami, however, blamed the violence on intelligence failure and charged the government with failure to take appropriate action at the right time.

While peaceful demonstrations were held over the past four days to seek “justice” for the deceased girl, on Sunday morning a large number of youths, outsiders, and locals went on the rampage at ECR International School, a CBSE-affiliated residential institution, at Kaniyamoor near Chinna Salem. The protesters rammed the stationary school buses with tractors belonging to the institution and set fire to at least 12 buses and three tractors, besides vandalising the building and furniture. A police bus was also set ablaze and nine police vehicles, including a riot control vehicle, were damaged.

According to Mr. Sylendra Babu, 54 police personnel, including a DIG and a SP, were injured in the violence.

Smoke emanating from the school premises after students set fire to buses at Kaniyamoor near Chinna Salem in Kallakurichi district.

Smoke emanating from the school premises after students set fire to buses at Kaniyamoor near Chinna Salem in Kallakurichi district. | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

Body found

The police said that around 5 a.m. on Wednesday, a school watchman found the body of the girl on the ground floor of the hostel. She was an inmate of a room on the third floor.

Kallaurichi Superintendent of Police S. Selvakumar said a “suicide note” was found, in which the girl had accused two of her teachers of humiliating her in front of classmates for not paying attention to her studies and that she was depressed over this.

However, the girl’s mother refused to accept that she had died by suicide and alleged foul play. The family refused to accept the body after post-mortem.

The post-mortem report said the victim appeared to have died of haemorrhage and shock due to multiple injuries. “All injuries are ante-mortem and fresh in nature. However, the final opinion has been reserved pending the report of a chemical analysis of viscera,” the report said.

Traffic came to a halt on the Chinna Salem-Kallakurichi Road after the protest against the death of a class XII girl student turned violent on Sunday.

Traffic came to a halt on the Chinna Salem-Kallakurichi Road after the protest against the death of a class XII girl student turned violent on Sunday. | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

Earlier on Sunday, a large number of locals and outsiders blocked traffic on the Chinna Salem-Kallakurichi Road and attempted to proceed towards the school. When the police tried to stop them, the crowd broke the barricades and started pelting the police with stones.

The area turned into a battlefield with the protesters clashing with the police in front of the campus. With the protesters refusing to disperse, the police caned them, leaving many injured.

The police personnel were outnumbered. A section of the protesters damaged the windowpanes of the school building and took away benches on their two-wheelers. As the situation remained tense, police reinforcements were rushed from Cuddalore, Tiruvannamalai and Villupuram districts.

Transparent probe

Collector P. N. Sridhar said the probe into the girl’s death was being held in a fair and transparent manner. Action would be taken against those responsible for the incident.

Mr. Sridhar said a case (by the girl’s father seeking a CB-CID probe) would come up for hearing in the Madras High Court on Monday. The Deputy Superintendent of Police has been directed to present all details of the probe before the court.

He said about 1,000 persons were involved in the violence.

30 arrested

Stating that 30 persons had so far been arrested, Additional Director-General of Police Tamaraikannan told journalists in Kallakurichi that stringent action would be initiated against everyone. The situation was brought under control and traffic was restored in the area, he said.

Meanwhile, Ms. Shanthi Ravikumar, the school secretary, in a video message posted on WhatsApp, said the school management and teachers had extended full cooperation to the police investigation. She said the girl’s mother was responsible for the violence.

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Printable version | Jul 17, 2022 11:38:11 pm | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/protest-over-plus-two-girl-students-death-near-chinna-salem-turns-violent-tamil-nadu/article65650182.ece