Kerala Girl’s Alleged Suicide Sparks Furore Over Online Classes

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 had resorted to lathi charge, said locals in the area, when the protesters wanted to lay siege to the Collectorate.

Also Read: Unable to Access Online Classes, Gifted Kerala Student Kills Self 

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.

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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