Four school girls in Kerala consumed a poisonous fruit under mysterious circumstances on Wednesday. One of the girls, who was training at the Water Sports Centre of the Sports Authority of India (SAI) at Punnamada in Alappuzha, has died.
Aparna Ramachandran, 15, breathed her last on Thursday morning. The other three are reportedly in a critical condition.
The girls were found in an unconscious state at the SAI Hostel on Wednesday night and were immediately rushed to Alappuzha General Hospital, and later to Government TD Medical College Hospital in Vandanam.
The students had consumed cerbera odollam fruit (Othalanga in Malayalam). Latest reports suggest that they might have attempted to commit suicide due to the humiliation they had faced during their training by teachers and seniors.
Police have registered a case and are investigating.
"I am deeply aggrieved by incident that has happened in Kerala. The young girl who died was a promising sportsperson. I have directed SAI Director General Injeti Srinivas to rush to spot and give me a factual report," Union Sports Minister Sarbananda Sonowal said on hearing the incident, according to Manorama.
This is the most tragic and shocking incident in 3 decade long existence of SAI: SAI Director General Injeti Srinivas pic.twitter.com/Lp4rUogbcS
— ANI (@ANI_news) May 7, 2015
"Kerala police is investigating the case and a sub-divisional magistrate has taken the statement of one of the girls who was able to speak. A suicide note left at the site was jointly signed by all four. This is the most tragic incident in SAI since its inception," SAI director general Sriniwas was quoted as saying.
Reports also suggest that the investigators have found a suicide note, which mentions that seniors had harassed them.
Relatives of the girls have also added they were under pressure and one of the family members of the deceased claimed that the coach had thrashed her with an oar a few days before.
Meanwhile, the SAI officials have claimed that the athletes were questioned recently after they were caught having beer and added that nobody in the hostel have tortured them.