Lalit Verma is behind bars after Indian police say the grade school principal beat an 11-year-old boy to death for allegedly stealing a pencil.
The incident happened this week in India’s Uttar Pradesh region, but has made headlines around the globe. The principal of Chadhury Dwarika Prasad Academy, a private school at Rahilmau village in Baddupur, allegedly ordered a search when one student lost a pencil and some erasers. The principal found the pencil in a bag that belonged to a boy named Shiva, then as punishment began violently beating the young boy, even throwing him to the ground.
The boy returned home that day but reportedly fell ill quickly.
“He kicked my son and punched him. He vomited and later died,” the boy’s mother, Malti, said.
The story of the 11-year-old student allegedly beaten to death for stealing a pen is just one of many tragic schoolyard deaths to make the news in recent months. Back in May of last year, a 6-year-old Louisiana boy was killed when a seemingly harmless prank turned tragic.
As the boy got off his school bus, he saw that someone had tied his shoelaces together, and when he stopped to untie them, he was was struck by a bus. The driver reportedly thought that the boy continued walking across the street and did not see him bend over to tie his shoe.
Witness Sara Ward explained as follows.
“Somebody was laying in the road. I thought maybe a child had passed out, or got knocked down … His shoe laces had been tied together and when he got off, you know, he was shuffling and he reached down in front of the bus to untie his shoe laces. She did not see him. The bus driver was out here (on the grass), right here next to my little bridge just in hysterics, in hysterics.”
In India, the murder of schoolboy Shiva led to calls for reform. Government leader Vijay Bahadur Pathak said the problem stems from the poor oversight of education in Uttar Pradesh, where schools are opened as a money-making venture. “The rising intolerance in society is the core reason for these incidents. A similar incident was reported from Bareilly recently. Schools are cropping up in huge numbers because people want to make money,” he said.
“In these schools teachers are able to gain employment in schools without adequate background checks and principals are appointed indiscriminately,” he added.
The body of Shiva has been sent to a coroner to determine the exact cause of death. Principal Lalit Verma has been arrested for allegedly beating the 11-year-old boy to death and is facing a charge of culpable homicide not amounting to murder.
[Image via Fukouka Now]