As the Telangana assembly was fiercely debating the issue of farmer suicides last Wednesday with each party blaming the other for the crisis, a 15-year-old school student in Karimnagar was recording his suicide note.
Edula Santosh Reddy, a resident of Abbapur in Karimnagarâ€™s Dharmaram mandal, was the son of a small farmer, who ended his life by jumping in front of a train after he was beaten by his teacher for failing to pay the school fees.
Santosh returned home for lunch on the afternoon of September 30, and reportedly recorded his suicide message on a cellphone, following which he left a note on the table for his parents asking them to view the video, never to be seen again.
His father E. Srinivas Reddy was in for a shock when he returned home from the fields at about 6 pm, and began searching for him and lodged a missing complaint with the Dharmaram police.
Meanwhile, at 9 pm that night, the railway police at Peddapalli, which is around 50 km away, received information that an unidentified body was lying on the tracks.
The body was identified as Santosh Reddy on Thursday. The parents claimed they had no idea about the harassment that their son had faced in school.
The Dharmaram police has since booked the co-owner of the Brilliant Model School, Konda Satyam, for abetment to suicide.
While speaking in front of an enquiry panel comprising education regional joint director Balaiah, in-charge district educational officer K. Lalitha Devi, and mandal education officer Rajamallaiah, many students said that 11 of their classmates were thrashed by the teacher for failing to pay the fees.
Reports also added that Santosh was the youngest son and his father owned three acres of land but did not raise any crop due to poor rainfall.
Many political parties have condemned the ruling TRS government for failing to aid the farmers in time.
SFI leaders staged a protest in front of the collectorate demanding closure of the school and punishment for the teacher who humiliated the student.
"It is insensitive and inhuman of the Telangana chief minister and his ministers for not taking responsibility of the crisis," says Madhu Goud Yashki, Spokesperson for the All India Congress Committee and two time former MP.
Blaming the ruling TRS government of "criminal negligence," Yashki also feels that KCR's promise of making Telangana a rich and surplus state in five years is not possible.
"Was he drunk when he sent his report to the 14th Finance Commission? The report does not make any sense. The neighbouring state of Andhra Pradesh has got Rs 1,000 crore as assistance from the centre while Telangana still waits for help," Yashki added.
As far as Santosh's suicide is concerned, Yashki points out that "One of the most ambitious projects that the TRS government had promised during the struggle was the 'KG to PG scheme' for better education in the state. If the boy could've got the promised 30% of his fees funded by the government, this would not have been the case."
Yashki also agrees that there is an urgent need for the state to be more sensitive to the farmers and their families needs and understand the problems that they face with respect to financial aid and how a single bad harvest can drive them to poverty.
Watch the video of Santosh's suicide note below.
Translation: â€śMother, I am leaving. Please donâ€™t look for me. Sir asked me about the fee, that's why I am leaving. The teacher kept everyone outside the school. Along with everyone, he kept me also outside. I donâ€™t feel like going to school. I am dying...I am dying. Everybody is undergoing a similar situation. Just the other day, we paid Rs 5,000. There is no money in the house. I am leaving (sic)â€ť