Fourteen-year-old Sai Deepthi, who ended her life here in Hyderabad, after she was allegedly not allowed to write unit test as she had failed to pay the exam fee of Rs 2,000 at Jyothi High School in Malkajgiri, where she was studying, was known to be a sensitive child. And Thursday’s incident was not the first time she was publicly humiliated in the school for non-payment of fee. What could have probably triggered her decision to end her life was the reported casteist slurs made on her.

The Malkajgiri police on Thursday night booked the school management under the SC/ST (Prevention of atrocities) Act and also under Sec 305 of the IPC, for abetment of suicide. The school correspondent, a teacher and a clerk, who also allegedly passed casteist remarks on the girl for not paying fees, have been taken into custody. Her body was taken to her grandmother’s house at Tukaram Gate, a few km away from her home. Outside the gate where the body was placed, the girl’s mother, Sunitha, her elder sister Sai Latha and father KS Balakrishna, had to deal with not just the grief of losing their daughter but also the protestors who stalled the funeral.

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A grief-stricken Balakrishna said, “Ee paristhiti ee talli tandrulaki rakudadu (No parent should live to see this day).” He was at a loss for words. A painter by profession, he was always busy to find work on a daily basis. “Now and then, my child would come and say that the due date for payment of fee was over. This happened on several occasions in the past. We would pay late fee and then she would go back to school,” recalled the father.

The parents paid a monthly tuition fee of ` 800, but this time around, the father is still unsure about the `2,000 his daughter had to pay at the school. “My wife deals with all the transactions,” he said. An active and enthusiastic child, Deepthi was a good student, he said adding that she was also sensitive. ‘’However, it was shocking for us that she would resort to this extreme step,’’ Balakrishna lamented.He said being a daily-wage worker with unsteady income, the family depends mostly on the `13,000 earned by his wife at a supermarket. Their elder daughter Sai Latha is a second year BTech student and the family is often burdened with the expenditure towards children’s education.

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Funeral marred by protests
While Balakrishna was talking to Express, a group of people stood in the way raising slogans and arguing with the police, stalling the funeral. With student groups protesting, not allowing the hearse to move, Sunitha was worried about the scorching sun hurting her daughter’s body. Now and then, in between the sobs, she cried, “Na bidda poindi, nakemi oddu. Enda kodtundi, nakemi oddu. (My daughter is gone, I don’t want anything. There is too much heat, I don’t want anything).” #KhabarLive

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