Teacher's barbs force girl to immolate herself

11-yr-olds final statement becomes FIR in the case

Teacher's barbs force girl to immolate herself

Ashwini, a fifth class student in the Government ‘Adi Dravidar’ Middle School (special school for SC/ST Children), at Nerumbur village near the temple town of Thirukazhakundram, 75 km from here in Kancheepuram district, took this grave step after “verbal onslaught” from her teacher Jamuna, police sources told Deccan Herald over phone.

When Ashwini reported to school on Thursday, the teacher reportedly admonished her for “coming late,” and used harsh language that could easily demoralise any child, sources said.
AshwiniOn reaching home, a sobbing Ashwini quietly went to the kitchen-area of her house, poured kerosene on her body and burnt herself, police said. The girl’s father, Moorthy, a small farmer was not at home, while her mother was attending to domestic chores.
After desperate attempts to rescue the child by her mother and neighbours, Ashwini was rushed to the nearby Chengalpattu Government Medical Hospital where doctors found her with almost 90 per cent burns.

As she battled for life, top police officials and the District Magistrate rushed to the hospital. She told the Magistrate about how “Jamuna teacher used to regularly beat me and verbally abuse me, telling me I am unfit for studies,” the police quoting from her last words said.

Aswhini’s final statement itself became the FIR in this case on the basis of which the school teacher was arrested, police said. Despite best medical efforts, Ashwini died on Friday morning.

 After post-mortem the body was handed over to her parents for the last rites. Hundreds of grief-stricken villagers turned up on Friday before the Thirukazhakundram Police station, awaiting the girl’s body.

The shattering death of Ashwini, coming ironically on the day the new Central Law to make school education free and compulsory came into effect, has once again brought to the fore the risks involved in running special schools set up for “Adi Dravidar (SC/ST)” children like any other normal school. The schools were under the State Department of Adi Dravidar Welfare, given the varying pedagogic needs of such special schools, but some years back were merged with the School Education Department.

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