KUALA LUMPUR: An Indian-origin teenager in Malaysia, who aspired to be like composer A R Rahman, has died after he was brutally assaulted allegedly by five youths for being effeminate, sparking outrage about increasing incidents of bullying in the country.
The 18-year-old student, T Nhaveen, who was allegedly beaten with helmets, burned on his back and sodomised by five youths following a spat, died of his injuries in a hospital in Penang's George Town yesterday.
The five suspects, believed to be Nhaveen's former schoolmates, had been arrested after Nhaveen and his friend were attacked last Saturday.
He was buying burgers with his friend T Previin when two youths known to them started teasing the duo. Previin apparently tried to stand up for his friend but the duo were instead set upon by five youths, the Strait Times reported.
The reports alleged they both were bashed with motorcycle helmets.
Previin managed to escape with eye injuries but Nhaveen, who dreamt of becoming a composer like Rahman, was beaten brutally and he suffered internal bleeding in his head and abdomen.
He was also sodomised and burnt on his back, the daily said.
He died in the hospital yesterday after he was pronounced brain dead. Nhaveen's death has been re-classified as murder.
Nhaveen's mother D Shanti was quoted by The Star newspaper as saying that her son had been bullied by one of the suspects three years ago in school for being soft but he kept quiet to avoid more assault. Nhaveen's case drew outrage on social media and also the attention of A R Rahman.
Nhaveen was due to start a music course and aspired to be like Rahman, his family said. Rahman earlier twitted for Nhaveen's recovery and called for "all acts of savagery end and people come to senses."
This is the second death in less than two weeks to spark outrage in Malaysia about bullying.
On June 1, navy cadet Zulfarhan Osman Zulkarnain, 21, died after he was allegedly tortured and burned with an iron.
Malaysia's Health Minister S Subramaniam said the incident reaffirmed that more serious and drastic actions must be taken by the authorities to curb "the poisonous culture of school bullies and gangsterism among youth".