Called 'dark-skinned' and 'ugly' by classmates, Telangana teen sets herself on fire

Lavanya tried to complain to her principal about the incident, but instead of taking action, he decided to shame her instead.
Called 'dark-skinned' and 'ugly' by classmates, Telangana teen sets herself on fire
Called 'dark-skinned' and 'ugly' by classmates, Telangana teen sets herself on fire
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In a tragic incident, a 14-year-old girl succumbed to her burns in Hyderabad on Monday, after she was allegedly harassed by her classmates. M Lavanya, who was studying in Class 9, set herself on fire on January 2, after she was taunted by her classmates for being dark-skinned and ‘ugly’.

Lavanya was a student of the Pragathi High School in Domadugu village in Sangareddy district's Gummadidala mandal.

It all started on December 30, when two of Lavanya’s classmates allegedly taunted her.  

"Since she was dark skinned, the boys taunted her and called her names, till she cried. One of them even indulged in character assassination and blackmailed Lavanya, saying that he would 'reveal things about her' to everyone in class," G Prashanth, Sub-Inspector of Gummadidala police station told TNM.

An upset Lavanya went home and tried to slit her wrists, but later decided to approach her principal the next day. But according to Lavanya’s dying declaration, the principal decided to shame her and put the onus on her, instead of taking action against her classmates.  

"The principal asked me why I did it. When I said that I tried to kill myself, they asked me if I was 'mental' or 'stupid', but did not take up my complaint," she said in her dying declaration registered with a magistrate. She also accused her classmates of saying 'disgusting' things to her.

"As the principal and school management didn't take her case seriously, she attempted to kill herself again on January 2, by setting herself on fire with kerosene, at her home," SI Prashanth said.

Lavanya suffered 45% burn injuries and was rushed to the Gandhi Hospital in Hyderabad. She succumbed to her injuries on Monday.

"The police have registered a case, and we are awaiting legal advice. Since the boys are minors, due process of law will be followed. We are also considering booking the school management for negligence," the police officer added.

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