CHENNAI: The rumour of an orphan schoolgirl and the story of her untimely death after being raped on the school campus in Pallavaram that had gone viral via SMS and WhatsApp for the past few days ultimately forced the school to close on Monday.
Hundreds of people, including parents, relatives and members of various political parties descended on the school campus “seeking justice” for what turned out to be just a rumour.
No one who gathered at St Theresa Girls Higher Secondary School in Pallavaram knew exactly who the victim was. But everyone had a graphic version of how a Class XII girl, after finishing her special class late one evening, was chased and raped by migrant workers in the school. She was supposedly bleeding profusely when she was shifted in an ambulance to a hospital and subsequently died.
The trouble began as a small group of parents arrived at the school in the morning, seeking clarification about the rumour. But it soon snowballed as the parents were unsatisfied by the “impatient” reply given by the management.
The rumours were put to rest when a team of school education, social welfare, revenue and police officials conducted a joint investigation and found that all the girls enrolled in the school were safe and indeed alive. “We went to the hostel for orphan students on the school campus and checked the attendance. There were four girls who were absent but they had all submitted their leave certificates. We also spoke to the students at the hostel,” said S Shanti, Chief Educational Officer of Kancheepuram district.
The team then broadened its probe. “There were only five students from Class VIII to Class XII who were absent continuously for the past few days. We contacted their parents and all of them were at home,” she added.