A 14 years old girl from Kerala, southern India has committed suicide after she was unable to attend online classes because she did not have access to the internet and even television. She was found dead near her family’s home on Monday.
The teenager, Devika Balakrishnan was believed to be missing from her family’s home that afternoon. Her body that has fully burned was later found near the house with an empty bottle of kerosene.
“There is a television at home, but that has not been working. She told me it needed to be repaired, but I couldn’t get it done. I couldn’t afford a smartphone either,” said her father, a daily wage laborer.
“I don’t know why she did this. I said we could look at options, like going to a friend’s house,” he added.
Many students in southern India have made a protest after Devika’s suicide which focusing on students that were poor and from rural areas unable to do online classes.
“The government action has put the poor students under stress and pressure,” said one of the protesters, Abhijith KM.
“It should enable the poor students to obtain computers at interest-free loans to avoid similar cases in the future,” added Abhijith.
Schools all over India have been closed because of lockdown since March 25 to prevent the spread of COVID-19. As a result, it leaves many students whose families cannot afford expensive devices with no access to education.
According to Kerala’s education minister, remote classes were being conducted on a trial basis. Students will be given opportunities to attend again if they missed the classes.