The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Shift shadow on teen suicide

A 17-year-old girl was found hanging from the ceiling of her bedroom in a Mandeville Gardens apartment early on Tuesday.

Radhika Himatsingka, a Class XII student of a leading south Calcutta school, had used a nylon rope to take her life.

No suicide note was found till late on Tuesday, but police claimed the girl was 'reportedly unhappy' with her parents' decision to shift her from a school in Coimbatore to the city.

'It is still not clear as to what prompted her to take this extreme step but preliminary investigations suggest she was unable to accept the decision of her parents. We need more time to ascertain the exact cause,' said Ranveer Kumar, deputy commissioner of police (headquarters).

Family sources said they had not noticed anything unusual about Radhika's behaviour on Monday night.

After finishing dinner around 10.30 pm, Radhika retired to her bedroom, situated at the southern end of the sprawling flat on the second floor of the south Calcutta apartment.

Besides a wooden cot, the room has an almirah, a showcase, a television and a ceiling fan.

With her father Harish Himatsingka and her mother away on a trip to Malda since June 25, Radhika was last wished good night by her seven-year-old sister Devika.

Elder brother Ansal, who studies management in the UK and had arrived in Calcutta on June 22, was at a friend's place till late. He returned home around 3.45 am.

'Around 6.15 am, one of the four maids working in the flat, Sandhya Dey, entered Radhika's room. Before stepping inside she pushed open one of the doors and spotted the girl in her night clothes hanging from the ceiling fan,' said an officer of Gariahat police station.

Radhika lifeless body was rushed to AMRI Hospitals in Dhakuria where doctors declared her dead.

The information of the teen death was passed on to Lake police station and subsequently relayed to Gariahat police, under whose jurisdiction the Mandeville Gardens apartment fell.

The gates of the apartment were kept shut for outsiders throughout the day. 'It's a tremendous loss for us and we are in no position to speak at this moment,' pleaded one of Radhika's aunts.

Sources within the family said Radhika's parents were informed about the tragedy over telephone. They were yet to arrive till late afternoon when the girl's body was handed over to relatives following post-mortem.

Owner of a car showroom in Tiljala, Harish Himatsingka had brought back Radhika from Chinmoy Mission in Coimbatore where she was studying International Baccalaureate after completing Class XI in early May.

Back in the city, she was admitted to Class XII of a reputed school in south Calcutta with commerce, at her mother's instance. Radhika had not attended classes for more than a week, school authorities said

Police claimed Radhika had initially voiced her displeasure over her shift but then kept her frustration to herself. It was only after her brother came down from the UK did she share her anguish.

'While there is no mention of all this in her personal diary, the failure to adjust to the shift seems to be the cause of her suicide,' said an officer on the case.

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