The principal of a private school near Visakhapatnam in Andhra Pradesh was booked by the police on Thursday, after a video where he is seen brutally beating up two class 10 students in the school went viral.
In the video, Seshagiri Rao, the principal of Bhashyam School in Anakapalle, is seen hitting two young boys brutally and repeatedly with a cane, for not completing the work assigned to them in the given time.
“You should be doing one sum in five minutes. In 2 hours, you should have completed at least 25 sums. How many did you complete?” the principal asks, and goes on to hit the boy first on his palm and then on his head, with a cane.
He then goes on to hit the second boy, who kneels over, writhing and crying in pain and begging for the principal to stop. But the principal repeatedly screams at the boy to extend his palm, continuing to cane him several times.
According to the principal, the incident occurred before the Sankranti break, around January 6 but the incident came to light earlier this week after the video was widely shared.
The incident appears to have taken place outside a classroom, with a few students seated on the floor with their books in hand, watching. One of these students appears to have recorded the video, which was circulated widely and brought to the notice of authorities on Wednesday.
A case has been registered by the Anakapalle police, on the directions of the District Collector and District Education Officer. Speaking to reporters, DEO Lingeshwara Reddy said that a circular will be sent to all schools in the district, directing school managements to provide an atmosphere where children can learn freely, without pressure.
“Teachers should deal with students with affection and compassion. This kind of behaviour is unacceptable. A case has been filed against the principal, and we will also take action on the management. District-wide, steps will be taken to create awareness on child rights,” he said.
Bhashyam Schools is a chain of institutions run by the Bhashyam Educational Group. The group is often seen advertising the top ranks attained by their students in SSC examinations, IIT-JEE and NEET.
In spite of video evidence of the extent of cruelty and violence with which students were treated, and the huge public outcry that followed, the principal continued to defend his actions, saying that they were in the students’ interests.
In a bizarre defence, the principal told reporters, “After watching the video, I can’t accept it myself. But the situation was like that … I didn’t reprimand because of any personal grudge. My intent was that they should study well and do well in their future.”
He also went on to blame the parents and students for his own behaviour, stating that the students had shown ‘indiscipline’ in the past.
“The students didn’t do their sums, they wasted time and they got less marks. The parents would come and reprimand me for this, and speak to me in a raised voice. So I had to reprimand the students,” he said.
He said that the incident occurred in front of the parents, and it was the parents who insisted that he must take action as they were not being obedient.
“The parents had also consented and supported us. They asked me, if neither parents nor teachers take action, how will they be disciplined?” he said.
Anakapalle police have booked the principal under Section 324 (voluntarily causing hurt by dangerous weapons or means) of IPC and also under section 75 of the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act (punishment for cruelty to child).