NEW DELHI - Indian authorities launched an investigation Thursday after a young female athlete apparently killed herself by eating poisonous fruit in a suspected suicide pact following alleged harassment at a state-run sports facility.
Police said one girl had died and three others were left in a critical condition after deciding to commit suicide together following harassment at a water sports centre in south India . The girls were found in an unconscious state at a hostel after eating a toxic fruit before being rushed to hospital, police said.
Officers said they had found a suicide note signed by the girls, all aged under 15, in which they complained about being picked on by “seniors” at the Alappuzha training facility in Kerala state. It didn’t specify whether they were talking about older colleagues or coaches, police said.
V Sureshkumar, the police chief of Alappuzha district, told AFP that the girls had written that they were being given a hard time for “small mistakes”. “We will be taking a statement from the girls once they become stable. We are investigating but no case has been filed as of now,” Sureshkumar added.
Indian Sports Minister Sarbananda Sonowal said he had asked the Sports Authority of India (SAI) to investigate the incident. “I would only like to say that if anyone from Sports Authority of India is found guilty in connection with this tragic incident, strictest possible action will be taken against him or her,” Sonowal said in a statement.
Moreover, an explosion at an illegal fireworks factory in eastern India has killed 11 people and injured six others, a senior police officer said Thursday. Police arrested the factory owner over the explosion which happened late Wednesday at a village in West Bengal about 130 kilometres (80 miles) from the state capital Kolkata, Inspector General Anuj Sharma said. Fireworks are a major feature of religious and other celebrations held throughout the year in India .
Fatal accidents are common in often makeshift and illegal factories or in people’s homes where sparklers, firecrackers, bottle rockets and other fireworks are put together “Eleven people were killed and six injured in (an) explosion at an illegal firecracker factory at Pingla” village, Sharma told AFP. “One person was arrested in connection with the incident,” he said. An explosion at a firecracker factory in southern Andhra Pradesh state in September left at least eight people dead .