The alleged suicide of a Class 10 girl student hailing from Kerala’s Malappuram on Monday has sparked off several protests across the state.
Devika allegedly killed herself for not being able to attend online classes that began on 1 June.
The 10th grader lived in the Mankeri Dalit colony in Walanchery in Malappuram district. She had bagged the Ayyankali scholarship and was anxious about not being able to attend online classes for lack of access to internet, reported Asianet.
Student Bodies Protest, Hold Government Accountable
Student organisations blamed the government, alleging the child was compelled to take such a decision because of the financial crisis the family was in, due to the lockdown.
Muslim Student Federation (MSF) activists marched to the office of the Deputy Director of Education (DDE) in Malappuram on Tuesday demanding that the government suspend the programme until every child in the state had equal access.
Kerala Students Union (KSU) and the Fraternity Movement held protests in Kozhikode and the Youth Congress took to the streets in Malappuram. Some students even attempted to enter the district education office in Malappuram, said sources.
#Police_brutality_on_Msf_protest@msfIndiaonline conducted massive protests against irresponsibility of the Kerala Government that,"Institutional Murder" of a poor dalit girl due to her inability to attend online classes conducted by government. @iumlofficial @ANI @MuzafarAbrar pic.twitter.com/ox1KfSWRdj— Nawaz Sharif Qureshi (@nawazsharifq) June 3, 2020
Police had resorted to lathi charge, said locals in the area, when the protesters wanted to lay siege to the Collectorate.
Kerala government had restarted classes for school students from LKG to Class XII with experimental virtual classes on YouTube or through the government-run education channel Kite Victers.
The incident has raised questions on whether the government had started this initiative in haste on 1 June, without actually checking if students from all sections of the society have access to digital learning.
Her father Balakrishnan is a daily wage labourer and the family had no smartphone and even their television was not working.
Leader of the Opposition Ramesh Chennithala expressed shock over the incident.
I am shocked by the news that a 9th class student in Malappuram district has committed suicide for not able to afford a Television or smart phone to take part in online class room.The Govt should have made adequate preparations before moving ahead with the online teaching program— Ramesh Chennithala (@chennithala) June 2, 2020
Devika was an exceptionally brilliant child, said her parents, neighbours and teachers.
State Education Minister C Raveendranath has asked for a report from the District Education Officer on the child’s death.
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