Group alleges police cover-up in student suicide case

Vasanthapiriya`s coffin is being carried to the hearse in their home at Kampung Tong Hai, Nibong Tebal, February 2, 2018. — Picture by Sayuti Zainudin
Vasanthapiriya`s coffin is being carried to the hearse in their home at Kampung Tong Hai, Nibong Tebal, February 2, 2018. — Picture by Sayuti Zainudin

SEBERANG PERAI, Feb 2 — The Malaysian Tamilar Kural group today accused the police of trying to cover-up and close the investigation into Vasanthapiriya Muniandy’s death. .

The group president David Marshel Pakianathan said the police had investigated the case under Section 309 of the Penal Code for attempted suicide.

“This means they were investigating the student, not the teacher involved in threatening her which led to her committing suicide,” he said.

He said anyone who was investigated under Section 309 could be brought to court and charged for the offence.

“We want to know if this is an attempt to cover up and protect a civil servant because they are investigating the victim and not the teacher,” he said.

He said the police could have investigated the case under Section 348 of the Penal Code for wrongful confinement for the purpose of extorting confession or of compelling restoration of property.

“It was obvious the teacher confined her in a classroom, threatened her and was forcing her to admit to something she had insisted she did not do,” he said.

He said the police could even investigate the case under Section 31 (1)(a) of the Child Act 2001 that covers the emotional and physical abuse of a child.

“The teacher had caused her emotional injury that she hang herself in her room that evening so the police could investigate her under this section,” he said.

The group’s lawyer, Paramjit Singh, will be sending a letter to the police in Penang and in Bukit Aman on this case, he said.

“I will also be sending a copy of Section 31 (1) (a) of the Child Act 2001 to the police so that they are more well versed in using this act,” he said.

He also called on the education ministry to take stern action against the teacher involved in this case.

“Merely transferring her to a desk job is not good enough, in fact, she got off easy because now she has less work to do,” he said.

When contacted, Penang Police Chief Datuk A.Thaiveegan said the police have completed investigations into the case from various angles.

“The findings have been submitted to the state prosecutor’s office for their perusal and further instructions, if any, and their decision,” he said in a message sent to reporters.

He appealed to the public to refrain from making unsubstantiated statements on the issue.

“This could undermine the efforts to identify the truth and may tend to paint a wrong picture on the whole,” he said.

He stressed that the police are “servants of justice” so they will carry out their duty in a “professional, fair and just manner”.

Vasanthapiriya hanged herself in her room in the evening of January 24 after her teacher allegedly accused her of stealing her handphone.

The teacher had allegedly confined the teenager in a classroom for hours while trying to force her to admit to the theft.

The student left a suicide note stating that she did not steal the handphone.

She was found unconscious and was comatose in the intensive care unit of the Seberang Jaya Hospital before she passed away at 3.30am yesterday.

She was laid to rest at the Hindu burial grounds in Jalan Changkat, Nibong Tebal at about 3pm today.

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