SIVAGANGA: A Plus Two student set himself on fire inside the Chemistry laboratory in his school on Tuesday after his Chemistry teacher allegedly scolded him for not completing the imposition.
The deceased was identified as M Prakash (17) of Pallathur studying Plus Two in Arunachala Chettiyar Government Higher Secondary School. Police arrested the teacher T Sabasthi Selvaraj (45), also a resident of Pallathur, working in the school since 2001.
His classmates said that the incident came to light when they heard the cries of Prakash and saw smoke emanating from the laboratory. They rushed to the spot and saw his body lying inside.
According to them, the teacher had come to the class in the second period and asked the students to show him the imposition. As Prakash had not completed, he allegedly scolded the boy and asked him to stand outside the class.
Selvaraj continued the class after sending Prakash out. The teacher and the students who were engaged in an interactive session did not notice whether Prakash was really standing outside the class. Soon they heard some noise which they dismissed to be chaos created by monkeys in the area.
“But we noticed smoke coming from the laboratory after a while. We peeped through the windows and found that all the doors were locked from inside. We also saw Prakash’s body lying there,” the classmates said.
School teachers claimed that Selvaraj, who has been working in the school for 14 years, scolded Prakash only for his welfare. School Education Department sources said that a departmental-level inquiry would be conducted.
Parents of the deceased and villagers refused to allow the body to be taken for postmortem without arresting the accused. Based on the assurance given by the police personnel, the relatives later allowed the body to be sent for autopsy.
Prakash was the second son of Mayandi, who is running a textile shop in the village, and Prema.
Superintendent of Police Ziaul Haque, Karaikudi Deputy Superintendent of Police Muthamil, Devakottai Sub Collector Albi John Vargees and Chief Education Officer Senthil Vel Murugan inspected the spot.
TR Parvathavarthini of Madurai-based Littles Trust, said that teachers are shown in a negative light while children are growing up. Parents even threaten the child by saying that they will inform the teacher if he/she refuses to heed their words. This affects the children psychologically. On the other hand, there is pressure on the teachers to yield the best possible result in exams.