A teenage girl from southern India killed herself by jumping from the rooftop of her house after allegedly being humiliated by her teacher over a period stain during class.
Police arrested the teacher on Wednesday (31 August) and charged her with abetment to suicide on the basis of a suicide note left by the 13-year-old victim from Tamil Nadu state.
The girl's mother reportedly told police that her daughter was scolded and shamed in front of her class on Saturday (26 August) when she got blood stains on her uniform following menstruation. She attained puberty just two months ago and was unprepared, but the teacher mocked and scolded her for not being able to handle the situation, the mother was quoted as saying by The News Minute.
"When she came back home on Saturday, all she told me was that she needed to take a bath," the mother said, noting that a boy from her class later narrated the incident to her. He told her that the teacher even made her daughter lift her long top in front of the class to see the blood stains and then handed her a piece of cloth to use as a sanitary napkin.
"Even on Sunday she seemed fine. At 12 in the night I accompanied her to the bathroom because she didn't want to go alone. But a few hours later, she jumped from the second floor of the neighbouring building," the grieving mother told the online news portal.
The police, however, disputed allegations made by the victim's mother and said that none of the students they questioned confirmed the 26 August incident. They added that the teacher was booked for abetment to suicide because the suicide note stated the girl was tortured for academic reasons.
However, sources in the District Child Protection Unit told the New Indian Express newspaper that the period shaming incident did take place.
"After she [the victim] experienced menstruation in the classroom, the teacher sent her out with a stern rebuke. The school management did not even provide a sanitary napkin citing non-availability of a nanny and just gave her a piece of cloth to use," the source told the paper.
"We have also learned that the victim was depressed as one of her classmates said she had shared her intention of committing suicide," the person added.
The girl reportedly wrote in the suicide note that the teacher was repeatedly complaining about her and was torturing her.
"Amma [mother] please forgive me, I don't see another way. I have to die. Was there any complaint against me when I was in class six? But when I reached class seven, why did my teacher make such complaints against me? What mistake have I done that they're torturing me like this?" the letter reads when translated to English.
"But I'll tell you one thing that the teacher won't live happily. She's torturing me....But how can she torture me like this. I couldn't think of any other way. So I have committed suicide," the girl wrote.