A minor in Andhra's Krishna district was allegedly set on fire by the warden of the Mother Theresa orphanage in Kambhampadu, after the former refused to do labour work.
The 14-year-old is reported to have suffered 75%burns and was battling for his life at the Government General Hospital (GGH) at Guntur.
On Monday, SFI and CPM activists staged a protest and demanded strict action against warden K Venkateswara Rao.
They alleged that the boy was burnt on January 26 at 5pm, but was brought to the hospital only at 9.30 pm, following which he was made to give a false statement that it was an accident.
“He (warden) asked all the inmates to work. I refused to labour and told him that I want to go home. He beat me up with a stick, poured petrol and set me on fire. Anyone who refuses to carry out the orders gets brutally beaten up by the warden,“ the minor told TOI, while adding that cleaning dirty toilets, mowing lawns and cutting grass was part of the daily labour for them.
The minor's cousin was also an eyewitness to the incident, and he reiterated the same account to the media, while adding that the warden had forced his cousin to give a false statement out of fear.
The police, who had already filed a report stating that the case was an accident, are now reexamining the issue, taking into account the fresh statements of the remaining students.
Meanwhile the warden has denied all allegations and stated that the boy attempted suicide due to depression.
“I was with remaining children when the incident took place. The boy set himself on fire in the verandah. I take care of the children like my own,” Venkateswar Rao told TNIE.