TWO DAYS after a class 11 student died by suicide at Manjalpur in Vadodara city, the police have initiated a probe to ascertain the cause behind the death. The 16-year-old boy, police said, was good in academics but was “disturbed” due to the coronavirus pandemic.
In their statements to the police, family members of the boy have claimed that he was “anxious” about socialising during the Covid-19 pandemic and “chose to remain indoors” mostly.
On Thursday evening, the minor was at home with his elder sister when he had locked himself in his bedroom and taken the drastic step, police said. At the time of the incident, their parents had stepped out to shop for the boy’s birthday, which falls on January 3, they added.
A case of accidental death by suicide was registered at the Manjalpur police station after an autopsy confirmed the boy died of asphyxia due to hanging.
Police Inspector BG Chetariya of Manjalpur police station, said, “The autopsy has ruled out any foul play, so, we are now investigating the cause of the suicide. The family is not yet in a position to speak and we are giving them time because they finished the rituals Friday evening. As per the preliminary statements of a few family members, the boy was disturbed. His relatives have told us that although he was good in his studies, he was extremely apprehensive about the ongoing pandemic. He had been refusing to attend the wedding of his cousin to be held in February because he did not want to socialise until the Covid-19 vaccine was out.”
Chetariya said the police did not recover any suicide note, neither have the immediate family members raised any serious suspicion of malafide against anyone. The boy, a student of a private school in Manjalpur, was a “good student” and was already preparing for his class 12, his family members told police.
A relative said, “We are in a state of shock. He had turned quiet since May last year when the Covid-19 lockdown was eased. He had never openly sounded disturbed but most of us found his nearly paranoid reaction to the pandemic a bit exaggerated. We did not know he would take such a step because we never thought it could have affected him so seriously. It is time the government considers what this pandemic has done to young minds.” The relative added the boy was regularly attending online classes but had refused to interact with any person in close physical proximity.
“The family is saying he had developed some issues during the pandemic and had not stepped out since the lockdown began. We will look into their claims,” Chetariya said.
Police said the boy’s sister said she had not suspected anything was amiss when the boy remained in his room for a long and she had assumed that he was studying. It was after their parents returned home and decided to check on him that they had found him hanging, police added. The police will record the statements of the parents soon.
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