Monday, November 29, 1999

Teen delivers baby in school, leaves it to die

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Chennai, June 17 -- She gave birth to her baby in the school toilet. And then, carefully, placed it in the flush tank where she did not expect anyone to find it. She was sure it was going to die and save her from the stigma of unwed pregnancy. But the abandoned baby's cries managed to save its life, and the 14-year-old girl, who had managed to conceal her pregnancy for so long because she was overweight, has now been expelled. The incident took place last week in Ramanathapuram district, about 500 km south of Chennai, when Ragini (name changed) excused herself from class and went to the toilet. When she returned, her classmates noticed blood on her uniform and pointed it out to her. She told them she was in the middle of her menstrual period and went home. Soon after, the baby girl's wails from the toilet drew people in the school and she was found in the flush tank, struggling for life. Since Ragini had visited the toilet last, school authorities suspected it was her baby and took the new-born to her house. After initial denials, Ragini finally admitted that the baby was hers. But she refused to disclose who was responsible for her pregnancy. The baby girl and her teenaged mother, now united, have since disappeared from their home at Achundan Vayal village in the district. After hearing about the incident, a police team visited the girl's village. Since Ragini is a minor, sex even with her consent will attract the charge of rape, the police said. "We will certainly take action, but we need basic information. The girl is a minor and so we want to handle the case with care as well as firmness," district superintendent of police Pradeep Kumar told Hindustan Times. The police have spoken to several people in the village, the school and classmates of the girl.The police also questioned the girl's expulsion from school. However, district education officer Hedsiba Beula said that the girl requested for a transfer certificate, as she was too ashamed to face her classmates.

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