A 13-year-old boy died after being allegedly poisoned by his classmate's mother for outperforming her daughter at school in the southern Indian coastal town of Karaikal, Puducherry.
Bala Manikandan, a student of class 8, was top of his class in studies and extracurricular activities at school, but police say this drew the ire of his classmate’s mother, who has now been arrested on suspicion of murder.
On Friday, the suspect, identified as Sahayarani Victoria, allegedly posed as Bala’s mother and asked the school’s doorman to hand over bottles of a soft drink to the boy.
The teenager was preparing to perform at the school’s annual day cultural event when he consumed the drink, and soon started feeling uneasy.
He returned home that afternoon and began to throw up, Bala’s parents said. He was rushed to the Karaikal government hospital, where he died on Saturday night.
Bala's parents filed a complaint at the local police station after CCTV footage showed Ms Victoria asking the doorman to take the bottles to the boy.
Police say she later confessed to mixing “laxative pills”, bought off the counter from a local pharmacy, into the soft drink.
“She wanted to stop the boy from participating in the school’s annual day events,” R Lokeshwaran, senior superintendent of police, told The New Indian Express.
Ms Victoria has been charged with murder and was remanded in judicial custody on Sunday.
Authorities said Bala’s condition was initially stable on Saturday but suddenly deteriorated later that day.
Doctors suspect the boy died due to asphyxiation after food particles went into his respiratory system.
“Our doctors gave him the necessary treatment for poisoning. The boy was conscious and doing better on Saturday. He was under observation and was kept on a liquid diet throughout the day,” S Madhan Babu, the regional medical officer of the government hospital, said.
“He vomited at night and then suddenly collapsed.”
The body was handed over to his parents following an autopsy.
“We are waiting for the autopsy reports to find out what was exactly added to the drinks she gave the boy,” Mr Lokeshwaran added.
Following Bala’s death, his family and relatives staged a protest in front of the hospital, accusing the authorities of not treating him properly.
Puducherry lieutenant governor Tamilisai Soundararajan on Monday expressed grief and concern over the incident. “I am really pained to come across the incident of a boy being poisoned to death,” she said.
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