KASARAGOD: The Melparamba police have charged a teacher with driving a 13-year-old schoolgirl to suicide.
The teacher was allegedly engaged in an inappropriate virtual relationship with the girl. Usman A, 25, who taught English in the Sa-adiya English Medium Senior Secondary School at Deli in Kasaragod, surrendered before the Melparamba police on Sunday.
Melparamba SHO Uttam Das T said Usman was booked under IPC Section 305, which deals with the abetment of suicide of a minor. If found guilty, he can be punished with death, life imprisonment or imprisonment up to 10 years.
Initially, the Adoor native was charged with sexual harassment (Section 11 of Pocso Act) and cruelty to a child by a person in authority (Section 75 of the Juvenile Justice Act).
The Kerala State Commission For Protection Of Child Rights had also registered a suo motu case and sought reports from the district police chief, Bekal DySP, the Melparamba SHO and district child protection officer before October 4.
The Class 8 student of Sa-adiya had allegedly ended her life in her house on the night of September 7.
Earlier in that day, her father had met school principal Haneefa Anees and accused Usman of engaging in inappropriate conversations with the girl on Instagram.
However, Usman reportedly told Haneefa that the girl had claimed to be a Class 12 student of Sharjah Brilliant School in the UAE.
His advocate Shameer said Usman neither taught the student nor knew her personally.
Haneefa said Usman was terminated from service as he failed to maintain the high moral standard expected from a teacher.
The girl’s father told the police that his daughter ended her life because of harassment by Usman.
Though the girl died on September 7, Usman was booked under the Pocso and Juvenile Justice Acts only on September 13, after her mobile phone was analysed by the cyber police. Protests had started brewing in the district when the police failed to arrest the accused.
On September 18, Udma MLA C H Kunhambu issued a statement demanding Usman’s immediate arrest.
“It is shameful that the teacher indulged in such a crime when children are facing new challenges because of online classes. Instead of extending emotional support, he misused his position as a teacher. His online chatting put the girl under severe mental pressure,” said the statement from Kunhambu. Shameer said Usman had sought anticipatory bail.
“Chances of him getting bail looked bleak. So he surrendered on my advice,” he said.
(If you are having suicidal thoughts, or are worried about a friend or need emotional support, someone is always there to listen. Call Sneha Foundation - 04424640050 (available 24x7) or iCall, the Tata Institute of Social Sciences' helpline - 9152987821, which is available Monday to Saturday from 8 am to 10 pm).