Student sets himself on fire after teacher punished him

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Thiruvidaimaruthur, Tamil Nadu:  A 16-year-old boy studying at a government higher secondary school near Thiruvidaimaruthur in Tamil Nadu allegedly committed suicide by setting himself ablaze after teachers punished him for possessing a cigarette lighter, police said on Wednesday.

The boy yesterday told his teachers, who were checking whether pupils were having cellphones, that the lighter was meant for lab purposes and not for smoking, they said. However, the teachers allegedly asked him to stand up on the bench yesterday.

Anguished over the incident, the student poured kerosene and set himself ablaze outside his house last night, police said, adding he succumbed to burns today.

State Chief Education Officer Kumar said the students were not beaten or harassed by teachers and they were only asked to show if they carried cellphones.

The teachers had asked all students who had mobile phones to give it in writing that they had mobiles. "It is not as if the boy was given a separate treatment," Kumar said.

"Teachers were forced to take action against students having mobile phones following complaints from parent-teachers' association that some students recorded obscene contents in their cellphones and viewed it in their classes distracting good students also," he claimed.


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