A school teacher from Namakkal was arrested and remanded to judicial custody on Friday on charges of making a Dalit child clean faeces with his bare hands.
R Vijayalakshmi, 35, is a teacher at the municipal elementary school in Ramapurampudur. She reportedly forced Class 2 student Sasidharan to remove excreta of his fellow schoolmate on Thursday.
The teacher allegedly called the child by his caste name and abused him in front of other students. He informed his parents about the issue and reportedly said he did not want to go to school any more.
Following the incident, the child's parents and relatives called for strict action against the woman. The situation became tense, with political and social outfits joining the protest and police personnel being deployed in the area.
The parents of the child claimed that the teacher, who has been working in the school for seven years, has been ill-treating their children on caste grounds for a long time. Last year, the Dalit students were not allowed to take part in the cultural events at the school.
"She deliberately prevented our children from participating in dance events during the annual day last year. Then we took up the issue with the Head Mistress who struck a compromise. Later, our children had to perform separately," The New Indian Express quoted a Dalit woman as saying.
Vijayalakshmi, who was arrested under section 3 (1) (10) SC/ST Prevention of Atrocities Act 1989, was jailed at women's special cell after being produced at the Namakkal Judicial Magistrate's court.
The panel of the Elementary Education Department is also expected to slap charges on the woman.