The Telegraph
Thursday , March 20 , 2014
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Examinee tries to immolate self

A Class IX student of a Jamshedpur school apparently set herself on fire at home on Wednesday morning, an hour before she was scheduled to take her final Sanskrit exam.

Fifteen-year-old Kanchan Kumari, a resident of Gandhinagar area in the steel city, has been admitted to MGM Medical College and Hospital with 60 per cent burns and doctors aren’t very hopeful about her chances of survival.

According to mother Tulsi Devi, she heard heart-rending screams from the courtyard while she was in the prayer room around 8am. “I ran out to find my daughter in flames. Our tenants and I poured buckets of water on her and rushed her to hospital,” she said.

Doctors at the emergency who were the first to attend to the student of Shantiniketan High School, Bagbera, said Kanchan had suffered burns on her neck, stomach, chest, shoulder and hands.

“Her neck, chest and stomach have been badly blistered, and her condition is critical,” said a doctor.

Tulsi Devi sounded confused about why her daughter might have taken such a step. “Maybe, it was an accident. I did not see her setting herself on fire. Again, I cannot rule out suicide since she is appearing for her final examinations, which began last week. Today (Wednesday) was her Sanskrit paper,” the anxious mother said.

A relative, however, hinted that the teenager might have attempted suicide because she was not doing well in the ongoing tests. “It is not an accident. Exam fear is the likely reason behind the suicide bid. The girl had been worried because her papers were not going according to her expectations,” the family source said.

Assistant sub-inspector of Sakchi police station Kamleshwar Prasad, who is also the in-charge of MGM camp thana, too said that they suspected it to be a case of attempted suicide. “Prima facie, it looks like that the examinee tried self-immolation. However, she is not in a condition to speak and we need her statement before we can draw conclusions,” he added.

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