17-year-old ends her life after getting involved in an argument at Punakha school

A 17-year-old girl from one of the schools in Punakha ended her life in late November after an alleged argument with her schoolmate in Punakha.

According to an official from Punakha Dzongkhag Education, the deceased had been transferred to Punakha from Lhuntse this year to improve her performance in studies, and she was admitted in the school on a special request.

There were allegations that the school principal had allegedly punished her, and after that she committed suicide.

The official said the deceased was not exactly punished by the principal, and it is just a mere rumour that the principal had punished her.

 She along with her friend were involved in attacking the vice captain. And later on, the matter was reported to the discipline committee. The deceased and her friend involved were called in the principal’s office, not to punish them but to investigate what had happened, and they were both given a warning. The deceased was not punished at all, the official added.

Even parents were called in to discuss the issue, but the parents didn’t turn up.

Before ending her life, the deceased had left behind a note where she begged pardon for taking her own life, according to what the official heard.

“I believe the deceased thought she was just a burden on her parents and guardian, and she was perhaps embarrassed that her guardian was called in the principal’s office, and the deceased was aware that she was given admission in the school on request of the guardian,” said the official.

The deceased has also attempted to end her life many times according to her personal diary maintained by her, but nobody noticed.

Meanwhile, a police official in Punakha said the case is still under investigation, but the rumors about the principal punishing the deceased is not true.

Family members respond

However, family members of the deceased girl disagreed with many of the points above and said the true picture has not been given.

A family member said that the whole issue started as the deceased girl had some problems and tensions with the vice captain and others.

This culminated in the incident on the night of 24 November where the deceased and her friend hit the vice captain when the lights were put out.

The family members alleged that on the same night itself the two girls were caught and hit by the Matron as punishment in front of other students.

The family said the matter did not stop there, but was put up to the class teacher and from there to the disciplinary committee on 25 November which is considered the third degree in terms of severity.

“They could have called the guardian or parents and then taken further action, but she faced the disciplinary committee which intimidated her a lot and she thought she is going to be transferred out,” said the family member.

Her relatives said that it was only in the evening of 25 November that the local guardian was asked to come next day on 26 November. The girl, according to the school, however, committed suicide on the morning of 26 November.

Family members feel that school could have handled the fight and also issues before that in a much better manner which could have prevented her suicide. They feel that she was put in such a stressed mental state that she took the step she did.

The family said that the deceased was not transferred to the school to improve her studies as she was already a good student and topped her classes regularly from class 6 to 10.

The family also disputed the information that the school contacted the parents and they did not turn up. The family is in Lhuentse and they say they were not contacted. The local guardian who was contacted was planning to show up on the time given.

The family also disputed the view that the deceased felt she was a burden on her family saying she was loved by her family and there were no such issues.

The family said they are not accusing the school directly but they want the complete information and they want justice.

Editor’s Note: The article has just been updated with the family’s views here as the reporter could not get their contact information from the authorities last week.

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