ALAPPUZHA, Kerala -- The budding rowing athlete, who died after consuming a poisonous fruit in an apparent suicide pact with her three colleagues, had apologised to her mother for taking the extreme step following alleged harassment by seniors at Sports Authority of India centre here.
Aparna's grieving mother Geeta said Aparna had told her about the "mental and physical harassment" meted out to them by seniors at the SAI hostel while fighting for life at the hospital.
"Mother please forgive me. I did this due to harassment of senior 'chechis' (elder sisters). Will I not survive?," Aparna was quoted as saying to her mother hours before she breathed her last.
Geeta also said her daughter had no intention of committing suicide, but took the extreme step as there was no other option before her following the continuous harassment.
"My daughter had come home for 'Vishu' festival on April 15 and had told me it was difficult to share a room with the seniors. When the hostel warden was informed, she had promised to shift her to another room within three months."
"Mother please forgive me. I did this due to harassment of senior 'chechis' (elder sisters)."
But Geeta said her daughter later gave the impression that all was well at the hostel, probably as she did not want to cause any worry to her parents.
"But in the hospital bed, while battling for her life, my child told me the truth about the seniors. Two seniors used to constantly harass Aparna and the other girls, due to which they consumed the poisonous fruit," Geeta said.
Aparna had been undergoing training at the water sports training centre of Sports Authority of India for the past five years.
Geeta said her daughter continued in the hostel despite the harassment because of the family's circumstances.
Aparna wanted to get a job to provide a better life to her younger brother, an eighth standard student at a local school.
While her father is a worker in a house boat, her mother is an anganwadi worker. All the family's hopes rested on the rowing champion, who had brought laurels to the state.
Meanwhile, the condition of the three other athletes at the hospital is said to be stable.
Kerala Home Minister Ramesh Chennithala, who visited the girls at the hospital, promised an unbiased probe.
"Two seniors used to constantly harass Aparna and the other girls, due to which they consumed the poisonous fruit."
Alappuzha Medical college Hospital superintendent Santosh Raghavan told PTI that the three girls continue to be critical, but their condition had stabilised. There is no specific antidote.
"We are trying to treat the main target organ, the heart. Teleconference with medical experts of the AIIMS, Delhi, was being held," he said.
Sports Authority of India Director General Injeti Srinivas last night visited three girls battling for life at a hospital here after an apparent suicide bid over alleged harassment by seniors at a SAI centre.
Srinivas, directed by Sports Ministry to rush here for an on-the-spot assessment in the wake of the tragic incident which left one girl dead, arrived at Kochi by a flight and reached here by road late tonight.
The SAI Director said treatment by experts would be ensured for the girls.
Assistance from All-India Institute of Medical Sciences, Delhi, would also be sought, he told reporters.
Four athletes, all undergoing training at the Water Sports Centre of the SAI here, ate the fruit and one of them, a 15-year old, died and the others have been admitted to the Alapuzha Medical College Hospital.