Devika’s parents had said that she was worried that she will not be able to attend the virtual classes due to lack of resources to access them.

Representative image for Kerala student Devikas deathImage for representation
news Death Sunday, June 07, 2020 - 09:37

The Crime Branch will probe the death of Devika, a class nine girl from Malappuram district who is suspected to have killed herself on June 1. Devika's parents had come out stating that she was upset that she was not able to attend the virtual classes started by the Kerala government on June 1.

Kerala Police Chief Loknath Behera, on Saturday, said that a special investigation team (SIT) will be formed to probe the case. The investigation will be headed by Malappuram Crime Branch Superintendent of Police KV Santhosh.

The death of the girl, hailing from a Dalit colony in Malappuram, had come as a jolt to the state government as the child’s parents that Devika was in distress for many days, worrying that she will not be able to attend classes as part of ‘First Bell’, the virtual classes started for the government and government-aided schools students in Kerala. Although she left a note saying, "I am leaving", the reason behind her death is not entirely known yet.

The student was found dead near her home at Valanchery on the evening of June 1, and is suspected to have immolated herself.

The state government had started the 2020-21 academic year on June 1 through the initiative called ‘First Bell’, where students are being taught through virtual classes, with the aid of various electronic devices like television, computers and smartphones. Though the government has said this to be only trial classes, many had raised criticisms that not all students have facilities to access these virtual classes.

According to the state government, there are 2,61,754 lakh families in the state who do not own a television set. The classes primarily are conducted through Victers channel, but are also available on YouTube.

Following Devika's death, many, including political leaders and celebrities, started distributing electronic devices to students who do not have any means to access the online classes. The government has also stepped up measures to start community centres where students can come and attend the virtual classes.

Read: Digital divide worsens social exclusion: Anti-caste activists on Devika’s death

If you are aware of anyone facing mental health issues or feeling suicidal, please provide help. Here are some helpline numbers.

Tamil Nadu:

State health department suicide helpline number - 104

Sneha Suicide Prevention Centre - 044-24640050 (listed as the sole suicide prevention helpline in TN

Andhra Pradesh:

Life Suicide Prevention Helpline No.78930-78930

Roshni Helpline 1: 9166202000 Helpline 2: 9127848584

Karnataka:

Sahai: 24-hour helpline numbers: 080- 65000111, 080-65000222

Kerala:

Maithri helpline - 0484-2540530

Chaithram helpline: 0484-2361161

Both are 24-hour helpline numbers.

Telangana:

Telangana government suicide prevention toll-free no: 104

Roshni- 040-66202000, 6620200SEVA- 09441778290, 040 - 27504682 (between 9 AM and 7 PM)

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