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Teacher allegedly beats student to death over spelling mistake

Police in India are reportedly on a manhunt for a teacher who allegedly hit a 15-year-old student with a rod and kicked him until he fell unconscious, causing him to die subsequently.

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According to Al Jazeera, a police report filed by the father of the deceased, Nikhil Dohre misspelt the word “social” in an exam, which got the teacher angry.

The student who died from his injuries on Monday at a hospital in northern Uttar Pradesh state is said to be of the Dalit community – formerly known as the “untouchables”. The Dalit community sits at the lowest rung of India’s caste system and has suffered prejudice and discrimination for centuries.

Mahendra Pratap Singh, a police officer, told the AFP news agency that the teacher in question was on the run but would soon be apprehended.

“He is on the run, but we will arrest him soon,” he assured.

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The incident reportedly sparked violent protests in Auraiya district, with the family demanding the arrest of the teacher before the deceased’s body would be cremated.

“The family says the boy was beaten by his teacher a few weeks ago for making a spelling error. Now the family has called this a caste-based hate crime,” Al Jazeera’s Pavni Mittal reported from New Delhi.

The death of the teenager has ignited lamentations about casteism and caste-based violence in India, where untouchability is said to be banned but exists in practice.

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“According to government data, five-caste-based hate crimes take place every hour on average in the country,” Mittal reported.

Riya Singh, a co-founder of the Dalit Women Fight organization, said the latest event exposes the prejudice and discrimination Dalits are subjected to by dominant

“The hatred is still so strong that it even extends to young children and ends up killing them,” she told Al Jazeera.

According to her, the only way to curb the disturbing situation is for India to accept the fact that caste-based discrimination remains deep-rooted, and then steps can be taken to salvage it.

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