An eight-year-old hearing- and speech-impaired boy from Malad allegedly committed suicide at his house on Thursday afternoon.
Only moments after promising his class teacher — who had gone to his house to speak about his irregular attendance — that he would be regular at school, Sumit Sonkar locked himself inside his room and hanged himself with a thin rubber pipe.
School authorities are finding it difficult to believe that the student, who was known as one of the most naughty students of the class, could succumb to pressure and take the extreme step. Representation Pic/Thinkstock
He was found hanging by his aunt in the evening when she went to fetch him. His parents rushed him to a local hospital where he was declared dead on arrival. The body was later shifted to the Bhagwati post-mortem centre for forensic evaluation, where the doctors confirmed that he died due to asphyxiation, but also secured his blood sample in order to ensure that there was no foul play.
'He was neglected'
School authorities of Sanskardham Vidyalaya said that after taking admission, around two years ago, Sumit’s academic progress had been very slow, and his family members never showed any interest in the same.
"The reason why the eight-year-old was still in pre-primary is because his parents never took interest in his studies. They seldom came to drop him to school. It was always his grandfather who dropped and picked him from school. They didn’t even get him hearing aids, even after they were referred to an organisation in Bandra, which would do it for free," said a teacher.
Teachers said Sumit had been irregular at school since the time of his admission, and since the past one and a half months, he had stopped going completely, following which his class teacher and a peon had gone to his house to enquire about his whereabouts on Thursday afternoon at around 1.30 pm. The teachers also visited another student who was irregular, on the same day, and she attended the school on Saturday .
Irritated about school
Sumit’s aunt said that he would get irritated whenever they asked him about going to school. "Whenever we asked him why he wasn’t going to school, he would go in the room upstairs and lock himself for hours. He didn’t even eat at times. That’s why after a while we stopped bothering him, thinking it might be a momentary thing," said Anju, his aunt. The Sonkars are a joint family. Moments before locking himself up for the last time in his room, Sumit promised his teacher that he would attend school regularly.
When his mother asked the teacher and peon to take him to school with them at that very moment, Sumit started crying, and told the teacher that he would go from Saturday. Once the teacher and peon left, he went to his room and locked himself in.
While the family didn’t pay attention as it had become a daily practice, his aunt Anju saw him when she went to call him at 5.30 pm, when they heard no sound from the room. Investigating officers from Malwani police station said that when Anju didn’t get any answer to her knocks, she peeked from the window to see that the boy was hanging by the ceiling fan.
"He hanged himself by a thin rubber pipe used to fill water. The door was locked from inside, hence they had to break it and rushed him to Children’s Hospital, Malad, where he was declared dead on arrival. We were informed about the same and took the body to Bhagwati post-mortem centre for forensic evaluation of the incident," said an officer.
School in shock
School authorities are finding it difficult to believe that the student, who was known as one of the most naughty students of the class, could succumb to pressure and take the extreme step. "We have a teacher student ratio of 8:1 and every teacher develops a very good bond with the students and even resolves their personal problems."
"We are certain that the child was facing no issues in school, and used to be very cheerful. His parents neglected his academic progress which made him disinterested in studies. He wasn’t a bright student, but he was definitely sharp. We are shocked to hear that such a boy could commit suicide at the age of eight years," said the principal, Geeta Shelar.