A nine-year-old student in Telangana's Wanarpathy district immolated himself, after being allegedly thrashed by his teacher on Thursday for not learning a Telugu poem.
The Class 3 student, identified as Anand, was asked to learn a Telugu poem around three days ago, by a teacher identified as Srinivasulu.
According to Deccan Chronicle, Anandâ€™s father, Naganna, said that the teacher had hit his son and humiliated him in front of the class, following which the boy emptied a can of kerosene on himself and set himself on fire.
Stating that he was fighting for his life at Hyderabad's Gandhi Hospital with 80% burns, the DC report quotes Kothakota inspector B. Somnarayana Singh as saying that the boyâ€™s teacher had switched off his mobile phone and was absconding.
Meanwhile, activists demanded the immediate suspension and arrest of the teacher involved.
Hyderabad-based NGO Balala Hakkula Sangham (BHS) demanded the immediate suspension of the Head Master of the school. The NGO also demanded an arrest and criminal case against the accused teacher.
"The Education Department should be ashamed of this act, which is discouraging poor children from education," the NGO said in a statement.
This comes just a week after the State Human Rights Commission (SHRC) took note of the rising number of student suicides in Telangana.
A Hyderabad-based activist had moved the Commission, citing several cases of suicide by students, in the state, over the past few months.
"If we do not change our approach to educating these children, there is much more violence in store. The students are reacting this way purely because the amount of mental stress we put on them has a tipping point," Achyuta Rao from the BHS, who had moved the SHRC, had earlier told TNM.
â€śStudents should not be made like study machines. Education is about raising responsible citizens," he had added.
The SHRC issued a notice to Telangana's Principal Secretary (Education). A notice was also issued to the Commissioner of Police, Rachakonda, as Sharvya's suicide occurred under his jurisdiction.
The two parties have been asked to file a report by August 26, when the case will come up for hearing.